Friday, January 31, 2014

Emily Hladky's Internship, Spring 2014 - Part 2

“Every worthwhile accomplishment, big or little, has its stages of drudgery and triumph; a beginning, a struggle, and a victory” – Gandhi 

A few weeks ago I read this quote and it touched home with me and I wanted to share it with all of you. This past month has been very stressful with my senior comprehensive exams and preparing for the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill & Ecosystem Science Conference. There were many times when I was ready to give up; I thought I took on too much; I was very overwhelmed and couldn’t see how I could possibly succeed. I expressed my concerns to friends and my mentor, Patrick Schwing, and with their support and guidance, I passed my exams, finished my poster, and was able to present my research feeling fully prepared.

All of the stress over the past month paid off; I made my first poster, went to my first conference, and met many new connections. Over the past few years, I have read many papers on the oil spill and it was exciting to finally see and listen to the scientists behind the research; to put a face to the name. When it was my turn to present, I was nervous at first but I knew the material and was eager to share what I have done with other interested individuals.

To give you a brief overview, I looked at cores collected from 2010-2012 from three locations, 2 affected sites (PCB06 and DSH08) and one natural seep site (Seep A). I picked benthic foraminifera from three depth increments representing two pre-Deepwater Horizon (DWH) event deposits and one post-DWH event deposit. We found the dominant taxa present in all three cores to be Bulimina aculeata and Uvigerina peregrina. Bulimina spp. are often found in environments with low oxygen (Miller and Lohmann, 1982) and Uvigerina spp. are found where there is low oxygen levels and high organic carbon flux (Miller and Lohmann, 1982) which would be a result of the “Flocculent Blizzard” (Brooks, G.R. in review). Both cores, PCB06 and DSH08 show effects from the DWH event; PCB06 with its decreasing diversity of benthic foraminifera up-core and DSH08 with its lack of density and diversity of benthic foraminifera species in the surface sediments. Seep A seems to be less affected; there is an increase in species diversity up-core which may suggest that the community was already “primed” or adapted to oil deposition. We now hope to look at cores collected from the same locations but from 2011, 2012, and 2013 to determine how the benthic foraminifera communities are recovering from the oil spill.

I will make it a point to go over my research in more detail in following posts but I wanted to share my experiences over the past few weeks and how perseverance can lead to great things!


Posted by:
Emily Hladky - St. Petersburg, FL


  1. Hi Emily, Love your opening quote! I'm glad you enjoyed and benefited from the conference. This time of year is especially difficult, especially as a student going through comps! I wish I could have met you personally, but the ice/snow cancellation of one of the poster days made it hard to visit everyone. But it sounds like you have a "push through it and make it to the finish line" mind-set that will be helpful for the rest of your career!

  2. Hi Maggie! It was such a great experience and I'm really glad I was given the opportunity to attend the conference! It would have been really nice to have met you but the weather did make that first night a very busy night; a lot of great posters in a very short amount of time. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and for your comment! I really appreciate it!