Research Story

Erik Minges

Sarah Fann
Graduated Spring 2010 | Marine Biology and Statistics

Temperature effects on the development of shortnose sturgeon eggs .

"In 2008 I was awarded the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Ernest F. Hollings undergraduate scholarship. This scholarship provides an $8,000 yearly stipend during the junior and senior years as well as a paid internship during the summer before the senior year. This past summer I worked at the Howard Marine Sciences Laboratory at Sandy Hook New Jersey. I completed a 9 week study on the temperature effects on the development of shortnose sturgeon eggs. Besides completing my research project, I also had the opportunity to participate in two overnight research cruises on the Hudson River. While at the Howard laboratory I was able to meet several scientists working on a variety of research questions. For the 10th week of the internship all Hollings scholars were required to report to NOAA headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland and present their summer research projects. I ended up taking first place among all the National Marine Fisheries Service research presentations.

I will graduate in May with University honors and honors in marine biology. For the past year and a half I have been working with Dr. Stuart Borrett in the Systems Ecology and Ecoinformatics laboratory. My honors thesis, "Positional importance of species in ecological networks," involves developing a metric to measure the ability individual species have to control the flow of energy within ecosystems. Besides working in the System Ecology lab, I spent several semesters volunteering in various research labs. I spent time working with sea urchins and maintaining a recirculating sea water system with Dr. Alina Szmant and I also spent time analyzing lionfish DNA with Dr. Wilson Freshwater. My time at UNCW has helped prepare me for the competitive field of marine research and I attribute much of my success to the caliber of education here at UNCW.

I am currently applying for a Fulbright to Australia where I hope to conduct a year long research project examining the effects of depth on species diversity and richness in four open and closed reef systems. I am also in the process of applying for graduate schools where I plan to earn a Ph.D. in the marine sciences. "