Diatom Project

Project summary:

Honey and Zoe worked with their mentors Jake Valenzuela and Chris Deutsch on a project focused on modeling future ocean conditions by growing three species of diatoms at low (contemporary) carbon and high (future) carbon conditions. Past research has identified a putative antiporter gene as important to the species T. pseudonana’s resistance at high carbon conditions, so Zoe and Honey researched orthologs to this gene in two other species of diatoms. They conducted daily measurements on the diatoms they grew and saved samples throughout to use in PCR. They also developed and tested protocols for RNA extraction, purification, reverse transcription, and PCR, allowing them to test if the antiporter orthologs were being expressed (the genes were being transcribed into mRNA) as the diatoms grew.

A future goal of this project will be to conduct RT-qPCR to more accurately analyze and compare the expression of the antiporter and its identified orthologs in the other species. This work will give us more insights into how our ocean will change as it becomes more acidic due to climate change, and if various species of diatoms, important photosythesizers, will become more resilient.

To learn more about Honey and Zoe's project, please watch the following video presentation!


You can also learn more about our time at ISB in our 'a day in the lives' video:


We are so grateful to our mentors,  Jake Valenzuela and Chris Deutsch. Jake – we really appreciated your endless patience and reassurance. Chris – we loved your sense of humor even in stressful times. Both of you are so brilliant, kind, and committed to our learning. Thank you!

Infinite love to Kristine Prado-Casillas, our undergraduate partner. Your friendship and knowledge made this experience so much better, and we are going to miss hanging out with you everyday so much. Please remember us when you are a famous oceanographer/marine biologist!

Of course, a big thank you to everyone who helped us out throughout this internship – to our interviewees  Evan Pepper and Jimmi Hopkins! We loved talking to you both and appreciate you making time for us. Thank you to Nitin Baliga, Jim Heath, Leroy Hood for sharing your wisdom with us in our interviews/conversations. Thank you to Julie Do, Min Pan, and Amardeep Kaur for helping us avoid PCR/gel electrophoresis disaster.

To Claudia Ludwig and Miranda Johnson- we wouldn’t be here without you. Thank you. Everyone at ISB was so lovely, welcoming, and willing to make time for us and our questions in their busy schedules. We can’t say thank you enough!