Ascent and Descent

IMG_20160613_102203Hello! My name is Gabriela Salcedo and I’m a student from Carnegie Mellon University. My primary major is physics but I have taken an interest in marine science which is why I am here. I hope to learn more about the topic and hopefully contribute something meaningful. I am working under the guidance of Tracy Villareal. My project deals with phytoplankton, more specifically diatoms. Specific diatoms exhibit an interesting property: they can sink and ascend on purpose. This is important for various nutrient related topics.

A single diatom, Chaetoceros

A single diatom chain, Asterionellopsis

The primary method for measuring the sinking and ascent rates of diatoms has been through using something called SETCOL. It provides the mean sinking and mean ascent rates. However, when compared to the more recent video method, where you track individual particles, the mean sinking and ascent rates are not consistent. My current project is in finding why it is not consistent and what exactly do the SETCOL results mean.

There are a bunch of tiny diatoms growing in these tubes.

There are a bunch of tiny diatoms growing in these tubes.

I will do this by setting up a theoretical universe using Python 2.7 (will also work for 3.5) where I can manipulate the SETCOL inputs and particle ascent/sinking rates. I will supplement it by using experimental results. To do this we have been isolating and growing different diatoms. This is all very exciting.

Posted in student projects

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