Friday, January 23, 2015

Summer Internship- Dr. Hull and Dr. Thomas

This summer I worked in the Yale Environmental Science Center and the Kline Yale Geology Building with Dr. Hull and Dr. Thomas learning about oceanic paleontology. I worked in this lab with three other Evo-peers and Yale undergraduate and graduate students alike. I was lucky because my internship was centered upon two ideas. The first idea was to get basic lab skills such as operating a scale and using chemicals, and the second idea was a lecture-based discussion on topics revolving around geologic principles and theories.

For the lab portion of the day, we would work right along side the Yale undergrads as we washed our foramnifera samples. Foramnifera are "amoeba-like" creatures that live, and have lived, in the oceans for a very long time. The Foramnifera samples that the lab had were gotten from the Welvis Trench off the coast of Africa and were dated back to approximately 52.6 million years ago, in what is known as the Eocene Epoch. Forams (short for Foramnifera) are especially useful because the lab is able to use carbon dating to figure out the salinity levels of the oceans that the For ams lived in when they were alive. Since Forams have a calcium carbonate shell that dissolves in water with lots of salt, the lab was able to figure out which time periods had extremely salty water by counting ad dating the forams. The Eocene Epoch, where the Forams were mostly from, was a time in the Earth's history in which the temperature and sea levels very closely match models that current environmentalists have produced to show what our world will look like if global warming keeps continuing. The lab was looking for solutions to the climate change problems that we will be seeing in as close to 75 years.

After the lab portion ended, we moved from the Environmental Science Center to the Kline Geology Tower to learn about geology. We were then supposed to use this information to start a Geology Cart for the Peabody's Sci.Corp program that uses these carts to explain science based topics to every day vistors. In order for us to start the cart, we needed to be taught the basics. The meant learning with Matt, our mentor, about environmental issues and geology as a whole.

Overall it was a wonderful experience that I know I am very privileged to have participated in.

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