学生科学研究计划 splashes insight into 加州’s marine mammals

在南加州海岸附近, a diverse profusion of aquatic life ranging from anemones to whales can be found. 随着全球海洋温度的上升, 增加污染, 栖息地和物种的丧失, understanding how to protect 加州’s marine wildlife and ecosystem has become more important now than ever.  

十多年了, 生物学 Professor Lei Lani Stelle has been leading research and data collection on the human impacts on marine mammals in Southern 加州. Stelle believes this research and long-term monitoring is essential to understanding how marine mammal populations fluctuate in our rapidly changing environment. 利用地理信息系统(GIS), Stelle’s team can predict where and when to find specific species and identify conditions necessary for a habitat they can thrive in. 

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Students at the 威尼斯人平台 have the opportunity to participate in and contribute to Stelle’s research each summer through the 学生科学研究计划. This 10-week program enables students the opportunity to work on a research project while working alongside a U of R professor. 学生参与研究的各个方面:数据收集, 科学写作, 甚至在年度海报研讨会上展示他们的作品.  

“Students are able to focus full time on research and learn first-hand the challenges and rewards of doing scientific resources” Stelle explained. “The funding allows them to commit to this work without any other distractions, 哪个是难得的机会. 许多人正在考虑成为一名研究人员, 所以这是一个很好的机会来确定这是否是他们最好的道路. Some students have continued this path and others have gone on to other jobs including education, 医学, 审查程序, 等. but all gained an appreciation for the value of science and the process of discovery.” 

夏季科学露西.JPG露西·斯蒂芙24岁, 主修环境科学和人类-动物研究, 空间研究, 和女人, 性别, 辅修性研究, is participating in this year’s 学生科学研究计划 with Stelle. She pursued this research opportunity because of both professional and personal goals to help conserve wildlife and their habitats.  

“While completing my undergraduate degree I want to experience as many different opportunities in this field as possible, 其中之一是海洋生物学,露西说。. “我一直都很钦佩约翰博士. Stelle的工作, from leading trips to Palau to mentoring students year-round on her projects involving microplastics, 海狮行为, 以及人类对海洋哺乳动物的干扰. Her project gave me the opportunity to not only learn from an amazing mentor, 继续我对保护野生动物的热情, 但帮助培养了数据收集和空间分析的技能.” 

露西和格蕾丝·沃格特23岁, 另一位参与研究项目的学生, help organize data from previous years and identifies different species using two software programs: Flukebook–identifying Bottlenose Dolphins–and Happy Whale–identifying Humpback Whales. 蓝鲸可以手工识别, 因为只有在夏天才去南加州旅游.  

Stelle’s team conduct surveys with the support of Dana Wharf Whale Watching from Dana Point two to three times a week. 在两小时的行程中, 该小组收集天气状况的数据, 物种的发现, 动物行为, 和船只活动使用ArcGIS现场地图. They also take photos to help them with their work back on the U of R campus. 后, the team travels to Vista Point in Dana Point to investigate the response of sea lions to boat traffic using a spotting scope from the shore.  

露西建议, “Anyone who is considering being a part of the Student 科学 研究 Program should keep in mind that it is a lot of hard work and long hours, 但这是非常值得的. 不管你是学化学的, 生物学, 环境科学, 或者其他领域, talk to the different professors who are taking on students each summer and see if anything is a good fit.” 


Alex Munoz, 23岁, 主修生物学,辅修人类-动物研究, 去年和斯特尔一起参加了学生科学研究项目. His research focused on how the us年龄 of boats impacted the behavior or migration pattern of marine mammals.  

“Animals are something I've been interested in learning more about throughout my whole life,亚历克斯说, “所以我渴望抓住机会在野外研究它们, 尤其是像鲸鱼这样的大型海洋哺乳动物. It was so fun and exciting to be able to go out with a whale-watching company multiple times per week during my summer research to conduct surveys on what species are out there.” 

“Plus, the program allowed me to get a feel for what research would be like as a career. 它让我看到了收集和分析数据是什么样子的, and it also allowed me to gain valuable experience for any sort of career in the biology field.” 

在他的节目中, Alex was amazed by the diversity of animals found off the coast of Southern 加州 and was able to identify twelve different species of marine wildlife, 包括鲸鱼, 海豚和海狮. “Being able to see such cool animals in the wild engaging in interesting behavior, 比如跳出水面,互相玩耍, 是令人难以置信的景象. It is never a guarantee to see any particular species on a specific trip whenever we go out, 但当我们看到它们时,这一切都变得更值得了. It is not the same as seeing animals in a video and seeing them in the wild!” 

Experiences such as these offered at the U of R provide not only an opportunity to broaden one’s horizons and offer insight into future career paths but can also change one’s perspective on our interactions with all living things. 例如, Stelle shared one of her favorite memories from a trip out to the coast: “We observed a blue whale mom calf pair feeding off Dana Point. They had been nearby when we noticed the mom travel further off but the calf stayed back. The calf came closer and closer to our boat, so we idled the boat so as to not cause any disturbance.” 

“这头小牛就在我们的船旁边绕了30多分钟. 我们可以看到妈妈一直在四分之一英里外潜水. 最后她回来了,她的孩子也加入了,他们游走了. 我知道这听起来像是人格化, but it seemed like she left her calf with us to babysit so she could focus on getting enough food!” 

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