Friday, January 17, 2014

Ben LaBelle's Internship, Spring 2014 - Part 1

Hello. My name is Ben LaBelle and I’m currently finishing up my master’s degree in Biological Oceanography at Florida State University. Before attending Florida State, I worked as an aquarium biologist at the Moody Gardens Aquarium in Galveston, TX, and attended the University of Alabama for my undergraduate education, where I majored in Marine science and Biology. As you’ve probably figured out by now, I have a great love of the water and that carries over from my professional life to my hobbies. I love to scuba dive and I also keep a 55 gallon reef tank in my home.

I chose to partake in the Deep-C internship program to expand my exposure to deep sea research techniques. My master’s project deals primarily with using genetic techniques to study the distribution and community structure of deep sea corals off of Alaska. While this project has taught me a great deal about the deep sea, corals are found predominantly on hard bottomed areas such as seamounts and canyons, and the vast majority of the deep sea is soft bottomed. This internship represents a valuable opportunity to learn how soft bottomed communities are sampled, what techniques are used to study them and how they might interact with other deep sea communities.

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Ben LaBelle, Florida State University

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