College of Arts & Science at Miami University
Microalgae from Antarctica to Ohio
Everyday Tasks for a Young Scientist
(with Nicholas Ketchum, February 2011)
A full text transcript of the video is available below.
(In this video Nicholas Ketchum, a senior microbiology major, talks about the opportunity to work in Antarctica as part of his undergraduate research at Miami University.)
"The professionals I worked with in the field over there, not only did they help me with respect to academics in instructing me personally with everyday tasks in science, in the field of research, but also I got the opportunity to get their advice on career paths, directions, what I might be interested in. They gave me advice on what they did when they were younger, in my shoes, a young scientist, as well.
"The primary research that I was engaged in was instrumentation, deploying instruments down the ice hole in order to ascertain certain bits of data. For instance, the fluorometer collects data on fluorescence of algal species.
"Some of the other instruments we deployed, like the CTD, which is a conductivity, temperature and density probe, collects salinity data, density data. We also collected real-time natural fluorescence from the water column as well as collecting actual water samples. So, winching a huge winch and pulling up these bottles that contained lots of water from various depths in the water column. That was really cool. And then once we pulled the water out of the water column, we performed various assays on it. We do titrations, all kinds of different things. Probably about 22 different individual tests on that sample water.
"It's hard to be prepared for Antarctica. It's gorgeous, first of all, and overwhelming when you get there and see how vast and pristine the landscape is. There's nothing that can prepare you. You just have to experience it.
"As far as academically, Miami prepared me tremendously. There's so much that I've learned here since I've been here and those skills are what enabled me to actually be on the list to go down there. So, really, if it weren't for Miami, this experience never would have come to pass."