My adventure in Miami is coming to an end…
by Laurianne Gérin, on
The PUF program gave me the occasion to study my semester at the University of Miami, on the RSMAS campus. I got the opportunity to study three different classes:
- Biological and Physical Interaction, taught by Claire Paris and Josephina Olascoaga. I learned to use Matlab and the Connectivity Modelling System. The CMS is a very interesting tool, it allows to look at the trajectories of particles as well as the connectivity between those particles and some settlement area. I worked on a very interesting final project for this class; the dispersion of larvae around hydrothermal plumes. I mostly used the CMS to draw the trajectories of the larvae if they were released around a hydrothermal plume.
- Coral biology and ecology, taught by Dr Andrew Baker. I've learned everything there is to know about the corals and their importance in ecology. Many specialist came to this class to give lectures and shared their different point of view on the future of coral reefs. I also had a final project to work on: I decided to present the diversity of deep coral reefs and how they are threaten by bottom trawling.
- Biogeochemical of the ocean taught by Denis Hansell. I've learned a wonderful tool: the Ocean Data View. I've understood a lot on the distribution of chemicals around the ocean and how the interaction of ocean and atmosphere is really considerable.
Classes were a great learning experience. I am definitely taking some knowledge home. The second part of this adventure was the internship. My project "Finding Nemo" came to an end and I got to do the statistics on the data. Different results came out, some larvae oriented and others not. It rose some very interesting questions! The behavioral data collected in DISC experiments could be potentially changing for studies of larval dispersal. DISC data will provide critical inputs to a new generation of biophysical larval dispersal models.
I must admit I had hard times at the beginning of my internship but it's normal. I've learned to do research, to learn about the DISC project, to analyze and well organize data. I've learned to work independently, to ask questions to everyone around me. I've learned so much from my lab mates; Andrew Kough, Matt Foretich and Erica Staaterman. Claire Paris shared her contagious passion about science and reef larvae and I'm definitely going to keep up with her research. I am thankful to the Paris Lab for everything that I've learned during this adventure. And I would like to thank Jean-Olivier Irisson for giving me this opportunity.
For anyone who wants to do this exchange program: you will learn a lot. Whatever your research field, studying in an international lab is a rewarding experience. You will grow personally and professionally. Be courageous and make that step, it's worth it.