Eckerd students spend Summer ’16 researching around the globe

June 13, 2016

Just because school’s out doesn’t mean learning ends.

Kylie Bold '17 rigs the SSV Robert C. Seamans

Kylie Bold ’17 rigs the SSV Robert C. Seamans during her Sea Education Association summer research trip from Tahiti to Hawaii.

Ask Kylie Bold ’17 or Clara Guillem ’18—two of dozens of Eckerd students who are spending their summer furthering their learning by conducting research at home and abroad.

Kylie, a marine science and visual arts major from Overland Park, Kan., is halfway to Hawaii on a Sea Education Association SEA Semester sail from Tahiti. She and 16 other undergraduates from around the country are studying the effects of environmental change on remote Pacific reefs while acting as the crew on the SSV Robert C. Seamans for the four-week, 2,600-nautical-mile journey. She’s living on the 134-foot brigantine and conducting snorkel-based surveys of local corals.

Eckerd College is a SEA-affiliated institution, and 78 of its students have taken a SEA Semester voyage since 1981.

Doug Karlson, of SEA, said all the research collected this summer will be submitted to national and international archives for use by the broader oceanographic community. “Some students may continue their research upon returning to their home institutions, using the field data as the basis of capstone or senior thesis projects,” Karlson explained.

Read about Kylie’s experience in her own words on the SEA Semester Blog.

Clara, a biology major from Osprey, Fla., will spend her summer in orange groves and science labs studying the bacterial microbiome associated with the roots of citrus trees in Florida.

The summer field work is made possible by a $2,000 scholarship from The Garden Club of America under the Elizabeth Gardner Norweb Environmental Studies Scholarship instituted in 2004. Clara is one of two recipients of the undergraduate research-funding award for 2016, including a University of California–Berkeley student who will study the effects of pesticides on river ecosystems in Taiwan.

Clara’s research will isolate the DNA of bacterial samples to better understand the community of citrus tree roots. What she learns can help other scientists studying the diseases ravaging citrus crops such as citrus greening, according to The Garden Club of America.

Both women will return to Eckerd in the fall, where there is no shortage of research opportunities on campus, from dolphins to geology.

To learn more about research at Eckerd College, check out the Freshman Research Associateships page.

Clara Guillem poses outside Eckerd dorms

Clara Guillem ’18 will be studying citrus DNA in Florida.