Hello everyone! I am Rachel Hartnett from the University of Texas at Austin. This summer I will be working with Dr. Deana Erdner, an assistant professor at the Marine Science Institute. We will be continuing a project started by two previous REU students that is investigating the diversity of picoeukaryotes in estuaries. We are looking into the spatial and temporal differences in these communities by collecting samples from the Aransas River, Copano Bay East, and Aransas Bay over time. We are lucky because this year has been really dry so we might be able to tell how these communities react to these conditions. We are also lucky to be working with the NERR in order to collect samples from two of our sites, Copano Bay East and Aransas Bay. However, so far I have taken samples from each of these sites and properly filtered them. Now I am waiting for my primers to come in (very eagerly I might add) in order to really start testing the genetic diversity in them. So in the mean time I have been analyzing previous data collected using distance matrices. Needless to say I did not expect this much math so soon, but statistics are important in any science so…I keep telling myself it is good for me. Like spinach.