An internship at RSMAS
by Caroline Ton, on
I am a Master student in Oceanography and Marine Environments from the University Pierre and Marie Curie of Paris, with a specialization in anthropization, management and conservation of marine habitats. I went to RSMAS for four and a half months in order to do my second year of Masters’ internship. I worked under the supervision of Dr Elizabeth Babcock and PhD candidate Bill Harford to assess for Glover’s reef spiny lobster fishery the bias in abundance and fishing mortality resulting from a depletion model, in comparison to the outputs from an individual-based model developed by Bill Harford. This study is really interesting because it has a crucial perspective for fishery management at Glover’s Reef, which is a marine protected area including a no-take reserve; but also more generally for areas located nearby marine protected areas, as it raises the issue of considering individuals from a no-take reserve as part as the fishable stock or not. The further purpose of this study would be to determine the total allowable catch to be implemented to have a sustainable fishery, and therefore to evaluate the bias resulting from different management strategies. On a personal point, it also allowed me to learn about stock assessment procedures and to understand the functioning of individual-based model. I also gained a lot of autonomy with R and discovered another programming language, Java. But even more, it confirmed my vocation to work in fishery sciences in addition to marine ecology and conservation. It was really interesting and instructive to discover another education system, and working at RSMAS was such a rewarding experience.
Indeed, RSMAS is a really great place to study any aspect of oceanography, to enlarge your knowledge and satisfy your curiosity, as it regroups many labs working on various disciplines. Anyone is likely to find something (if not many things) to be interested by. There are many occasions to discover other fields of study within and from biological oceanography, one of the main being the WetLab after-works. The WetLab is also a great place to spot manatees, dolphins, sharks, rays, tarpons, and seabirds.
I would like to thank my advisor, Elizabeth Babcock, and PhD candidate Bill Harford, for allowing me to do my internship under their supervision, and for the help, time and assistance they provided me. I am also grateful to Jean-Olivier Irisson for creating this partnership between our universities and for his help in preparing my departure to Miami, as well as the PUF organization for funding this wonderful experience. Thanks to David Die too for taking us on a fishing trip with his class. And thanks to everyone else for help, friendship, and good moments!