A Postcard From: Paige Weber ’18

Name: Paige Weber
Class Year: 2018
Major: Biology
Hometown: Auburn, Maine

Job Title: Research Assistant for Dr. Thomas Mozdzer
Location: Rowley, Mass.

What’s happening at your internship?

I am currently using the Los Gatos Research Lab Greenhouse Gas Analyzer to measure carbon intake of Spartina alteriflora, a dominant plant species on the Plum Island salt marshes. By measuring the carbon intake, I can determine gross primary production and ecosystem respiration rates of the marsh.

I am also continuing a long-term experiment of decomposition rates using two different types of tea. After installing the tea bags, they are removed 1, 2, and 3 years later and weighed. By calculating the weight lost, I can determine decomposition rates of the salt marsh. This is really exciting because it is part of a global experiment where scientists all over the world are doing the same experiment in different ecosystems.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I applied for this internship because I am currently working in Thomas Mozdzer’s lab at Bryn Mawr College. I worked for him at Plum Island last summer and I am continuing my work from last summer to collect data for my thesis.

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

My favorite part of this internship is living and working with ecologists from all over. I get to hear about their work and learn what they are studying. It is amazing to see what other scientists are doing and how it relates to the same ecosystem that I work on. It also gives me insight on graduate school programs and other advisors for when I start looking after I graduate from Bryn Mawr this spring.

What has been the biggest challenge you have faced at your internship?

The biggest challenge has been making my own schedule because I know what needs to get done and I don’t want to overwork myself or my lab mate, but I also don’t want to fall behind in work to the point where we are rushing to get things done. With our work being scheduled around the tide, if a day isn’t perfect for measuring gases, it can really mess up the whole weekly schedule.

 

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