BIOS Internships Result in Peer-Reviewed Scientific Publication for Two Students

marine technicians work aboard a research vessel at sea

Internships at BIOS offer many benefits to students pursuing future studies or careers in the oceanographic and atmospheric sciences, including practical experience, mentorship, and—for some—the opportunity to publish the results of their research in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. For students continuing into Ph.D. programs, this latter benefit can be particularly helpful in gaining admission into choice schools and securing paid research with specific labs and faculty members.

In 2012 Veronique Oldham received a Canadian Associates of BIOS (CABIOS) scholarship to participate in a 12-week research internship at BIOS, studying copper speciation and toxicity in Castle Harbor with then-faculty member Dr. Kristen Buck. With additional funding from the Roger T. Stone Fellowship and the C&H Montgomery Moore Fellowship, Vero extended her internship until June 2013, allowing her to continue her research and conduct in-depth analysis of the results.

While beginning her Ph.D. studies at the University of Delaware College of Earth, Ocean, and the Environment in July 2013, Vero continued working with Dr. Buck on a paper based on her research at BIOS. After navigation the submission and peer review process, the paper was accepted and published in the scientific journal Marine Pollution Bulletin (Oldham, V. E., Swenson, M. M. and Buck, K. N. (2014). “Spatial variability of total dissolved copper and copper speciation in the inshore waters of Bermuda.” Marine Pollution Bulletin 79(1): 314-320).

Achieving this while still a Ph.D. student represents a huge accomplishment for Vero, as many young researchers publish after their dissertation research, and only then as second or third authors. According to Vero, “Working as an intern with Dr. Buck cemented my desire to pursue academic research as a career and gave me the skills and confidence I needed to do so. BIOS is a place where unique research can take place and I am thankful for the experience I had working on ships, at sea, in the sediments, and in the world class facilities BIOS has to offer.”

For another student, his internship at BIOS at part of the NSF-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program resulted in co-authorship of this same paper. The 12-week REU program provides undergraduate students with the unique opportunity to conduct individual research projects under the guidance of faculty mentors.  In 2009 Michael Swenson was a junior at Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota (US) when he received an REU fellowship to work with Dr. Buck at BIOS.  His project compared copper and copper ligand concentrations in Castle Harbor with other sites around Bermuda.

In addition to providing a solid foundation of data for the paper, his research proved to be a valuable stepping-stone to future employment and academic opportunities. Michael is currently working toward his master’s degree in chemistry at the Large Lakes Observatory, part of the University of Minnesota Duluth, under Dr. Elizabeth Minor. Speaking to his experience as an REU student at BIOS, Michael says, “The REU experience helped me get multiple jobs and was a major factor in being accepted for graduate programs. Working with trace metals under Dr. Kristen Buck gave me a solid understanding of how to do careful lab work. I have directly applied this skill as an analytical chemist in the corporate world, as well as for my current research looking at ways to extract dissolved organic matter to expedite analysis.”

To learn more about internship opportunities at BIOS and how to apply, please visit /education/ and search under the “Undergraduate Courses and Internships” and “Graduate Courses and Internships” sections.