Member Updates: Corals, Parasites, and Graduation

Megan Frenkel: first paper published!

Megan (Meg) Frenkel, a PhD student at Columbia/LDEO, published her first paper! “Quantifying bamboo coral growth rate nonlinearity with the radiocarbon bomb spike: A new model for paleoceanographic chronology development” was published in Deep Sea Research I, and is based on her undergraduate honors thesis at Bowdoin College with Michèle LaVigne

Close up of Meg Frenkel smiling at the camera
Meg Frenkel

Meg’s journey to publication was not exactly smooth: when she was almost ready to submit the paper, her computer crashed and she had to remake all her figures and reprocess part of the data — yikes! She is excited to have her first publication out and is now transitioning to working on dust flux at Lamont. You can read her paper here.

Bamboo coral with calcitic internodes (white) and organic gorgonin nodes (black). Image credit: NOAA
Bamboo coral with calcitic internodes (white) and organic gorgonin nodes (black). Image credit: NOAA

Meg is on Twitter at @megfrenkel.

Jillian Freese: review paper published!

Did you know that there are over 6,000 species of red algae, and that the latest review published about this huge assemblage of species and their parasites was written by a grad student?  Jillian Freese, a PhD student at the University of Rhode Island, recently published an invited review in Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology on parasitism in red algae. Her research in the Biological and Environmental Science department focuses on red algal parasite development. While researching for her paper, Jillian really enjoyed seeing how much each paper built off others from the past, even as far back as the 19th century.  At that point, the most cutting edge research focused on the appearance and shape, or morphology, of red algae specimens.

red algae illustration
This illustration of red algae was published in 1849. Image contributed to the Biodiversity Heritage Library by Museums Victoria.



Red algae
Modern photograph of red algae. Image credit: University of Wisconsin Plant Teaching Collection, used with permission.








The most challenging part of getting the paper out was the actual writing. “There’s something about that blank document and blinking cursor that can be intimidating,” Jillian said. Read her paper here to learn all about the fascinating link between red algae species and their parasite friends.

Jilliane Freese with red algae
Jillian Freese with red algae sample.

You can find Jillian on Twitter @JillianFreese.

Dr. Sophie Chu: graduation!

Model, doctor, or both?!
Model, doctor, or both?!

Sophie Chu defended her thesis back in January, but she finally got to wear a funny hat and walk across the stage this month! Dr. Chu earned her PhD in the MIT-WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography. She traded one joint program for another when she graduated and is now a postdoc with the Joint Institute for the Study of Atmospheres and Oceans (JISAO), where she is part of the NOAA PMEL carbon group.

Sophie and her boyfriend in front of mountains
Sophie and her boyfriend are loving the PNW life!

Sophie is a SWMS steering committee member and is working on starting a Seattle chapter of SWMS.

Written by Gabi Serrato Marks, PhD student in the MIT-WHOI Joint Program and SWMS steering committee member.