Drivers of Giant Kelp Morphology

Sara Gonzalez – Raimondi Lab

Positions: 1 intern

dates: June – August 2021, flexible

Project location: Coastal Biology Building and Long Marine Lab

Project description: Giant kelp exists as distinct morphological variants—or “ecomorphs”—in different populations, yet the mechanism for this variation is uncertain and the potential differences in life histories among the ecomorphs are largely unexplored. This project, led by a Ph.D. candidate in the Raimondi Lab, focuses on understanding patterns in early life stage development of two giant kelp ecomorphs and the effect of local environment on morphology. Using lab and field experiments, we will examine various aspects of the giant kelp life cycle and characterize how the morphology of lab-reared kelp ecomorphs develops when out-planted to a common marine environment.

Intern duties: The intern will be responsible for assisting in the laboratory and will receive mentoring and guidance to complete their own project exploring the life cycle of giant kelp in different morphological variants. The intern will gain skills in algae culturing techniques, microscopy, preparing kelp samples and taking morphological measurements, digital image analysis, and literature review. In addition, the intern will get first-hand experience with the planning and preparations for lab and field work, and the iterative nature of empirical research.

Intern qualifications: A good candidate for this position has a positive attitude, good attention to detail, and a willingness to learn. Basic biology knowledge is useful, but the intern will be provided with background information to understand the project. If the intern is AAUS SCUBA certified, they may have the opportunity to help in nearshore subtidal field work to measure out-planted kelp individuals.

Do you recommend the intern(s) volunteer in your lab during Spring quarter?

UC Santa Cruz Land Acknowledgement

“The land from which we base our work is the unceded territory of the Awaswas-speaking Uypi Tribe. The Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, comprised of the descendants of indigenous people taken to missions Santa Cruz and San Juan Bautista during Spanish colonization of the Central Coast, is today working hard to restore traditional stewardship practices on these lands and heal from historical trauma.”