The Phycological Society of America seeks to raise $25,000 to aid student research and education. Please read more about the PSA fundraiser at this website.
PSA Grants Help Students
The Phycological Society of America supports graduate student member education and development through three programs: the Croasdale Fellowships, the Hoshaw Travel Awards, and the Grants-in-Aid of Research. Specific information about these grants are provided on their respective web pages. Listed below are personal examples of how PSA grants have assisted students.
2012 GRANTS-IN-AID OF RESEARCH RECIPIENTS
Grants-in-Aid of Research awards are made in amounts of up to $1,500 by the Phycological Society of America in support of graduate student research in any area of phycology.
Matt standing next to his experimental set up, with meristems of M. pyrifera in their mesocoms
Advisor: Matthew Edwards - San Diego State University, San Diego, CA, USA
I utilized the funds from the Phycological Society of America's grants in aid to purchase necessary equipment for my thesis. My study examined the effects of elevated temperature and pCO2 on the physiology of Macrocystis pyrifera. My experiments were performed within a laboratory setting, with meristems of M. pyrifera held in mesocosms, and required a specialized mixture of CO2 and air in order to maintain levels in my elevated CO2 treatments within their desired ranges. In addition, aquarium air and water pumps were required to move water through my system and to maintain pCO2 in my control treatments, respectively. Finally, the funds allowed me to purchase chemicals need for several enzyme assays I performed to determine the effects of temperature and pCO2 on carbonic anhydrase activity and changes in photosynthetic pigments within M. pyrifera.
Rebecca with the spore settlement apparatus in the Ocean Acidification Environmental Laboratory, at Friday Harbor Labs
Advisors: Patrick Martone - University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C., Canada & Emily Carrington - Friday Harbor Laboratories, University of Washington, Friday Harbor, WA, USA
Algal spores are a rarely studied, yet, extremely important stage of the life cycle of an alga. Whether or not a spore can settle and germinate ultimately determines if the alga can grow and reproduce to complete its life cycle. The adhesive properties of algal spores are affected by abiotic factors such as temperature, and it is likely that they also respond to other abiotic factors. The decrease in pH of the world's oceans caused by increased dissolution of atmospheric CO2, termed ocean acidification, is hypothesized to have effects on mature seaweeds, especially calcified species, but the broad effects of pH on spore adhesion have not been studied. I examined the effect of pH on red algal spore adhesion and time to settlement of a common intertidal red alga, Pterosiphonia bipinnata. I found that a reduction in pH to 7.3 from ambient (7.75) delays the time to attachment of this species, but that pH has minor effects on final attachment strength of this species. Results suggest that ocean acidification may have differential effects on the phases of the spore attachment process, resulting in unanticipated broadscale effects on many seaweed communities, not just those species that calcify.
Emily surveying algae and invertebrates, San Diego, CA
Advisor: Jeremy Long - San Diego State University, San Diego, CA, USA
My research is investigating factors that affect the strength of inducible defenses in the seaweed Silvetia compressa, as well as the consequences of these responses for seaweed physiological processes. With my PSA GIAR award, I was able to conduct several experiments examining how seaweed induction varies with biogeography, herbivore identity, and herbivore abundance. In addition, I am building a set of chambers to use for physiology experiments, in order to test whether nutrient uptake and photosynthesis rates are altered when these seaweed defenses are induced.
Nicole after setting up a field experiment on a mudflat in Georgia
Advisor: Dr. Erik Sotka - College of Charleston, Charleston, SC, USA
The PSA-GIAR award supported my research studying the evolutionary ecology of the invasive seaweed Gracilaria vermiculophylla. Specifically, I am interested in learning where Gracilaria came from and the consequences of its introduction to biological communities. There are two components to my work. The first project uses microsatellite markers to track the seaweed's invasion history while the second effort describes the association of Gracilaria with a native polychaete, Diopatra cuprea. Through support from PSA, I was able to increase my resolution in determining source for introduced populations and also expand my field efforts to understand the Diopatra-Gracilaria association both spatially and temporally.
Lesliegh and Gina Filloramo (another Saunders PhD) at the Coffs Harbour jetty after collecting on the jetty pylons (left) and processing collections (right)
Advisor: Gary W. Saunders - University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, NB, Canada
With the PSA Grant In Aid of Research funding I bought my plane tickets to Australia (a mere 16975km away from Fredericton, New Brunswick) so I could participate in fieldwork. While we have many Halymeniales vouchers from Australia that Gary has collected over many years of affiliation with Australian researchers, I was lucky to be able to go and collect first-hand in a stretch of coastline that our lab had not previously studied. We had an amazing trip, amassing almost 400 Rhodophyte samples between Jarvis Bay NSW and Brisbane QLD in 2 weeks, 55-odd of these being Halymeniales specimens. Swimming with your study organisms is an experience not to be underrated.
Rosemary installing herbivore excluding experimental blocks at the Romberg Tiburon Center, CA
Advisors: Wayne P. Sousa and David R. Lindberg - University of California Berkeley, CA, USA
I used the PSA Grant in Aid of Research to purchase materials necessary to construct resin, settling plates that I am using to test the importance of the lunar cycle in Ulva propagule availability and the effects of herbivores on the recruitment of Ulva. Settling plates were deployed on two time schedules in the rocky intertidal of San Francisco bay. Settling plates used to test the importance of the lunar cycle on propagule availability were deployed for one week time periods during either spring or neap tides while experimental blocks of settling plates with anti-herbivory treatments were exchanged for sterile plates on a monthly basis. All plates are enumerated for algal recruitment and invertebrate herbivores in the lab. Thanks to this award I am able to test two hypotheses that will help in answering my broad dissertation question of what factors are regulating green algal blooms in San Francisco bay.
Sarah in the lab
Advisors: Dr. Mark Carr and Dr. Jarmila Pittermann - University of California, Santa Cruz, CA, USA
The PSA GIAR has enabled me to explore the carbon acquisition physiology of the giant kelp, Macrocystis pyrifera. Giant kelp are extremely plastic in their photosynthetic physiologies, and can use both CO2 and bicarbonate dissolved in seawater. My study aims to understand how much bicarbonate they are using and when they are using it to get a better picture of how kelp will respond to changing seawater temperature, alkalinity, and storm patterns due to climate change.
- 2012 CROASDALE FELLOWSHIP RECIPIENTS
The Hannah T. Croasdale Fellowships are designed to encourage graduate students to broaden their phycological training by defraying the costs of attending phycology courses at biological field stations. The maximum amount awarded is $1,500.
Catharina sampling diatoms in a bog
Advisor: John Wehr - Fordham University, NY, USA
The Hannah T. Croasdale Fellowship allowed me to travel to Iowa Lakeside Laboratory in Milford, Iowa to take the Ecology and Systematics of Diatoms course. During this month-long intensive course, I learned to collect, process, and identify diatoms. In three weeks, I went from learning to use a microscope to look at diatom slides to having correctly identified, marked, and labeled 40 diatoms species. Because I brought prepared diatoms from some of my study sites, I was able to learn to identify diatoms that I will see frequently while conducting research for my dissertation. In addition, I gained a greater understanding and appreciation for the importance of diatoms in an ecological context. Lectures on diatom ecology informed my thinking about algal research and peaked my interest in nutritional quality research. This opportunity helped me to focus and plan my dissertation and will continue to help me throughout my future career in phycology.
Tye diving with a sea urchin
Advisor:Mark Hixon - Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, USA
The Hannah T. Croasdale fellowship enabled me to attend the 2012 Tropical Field Phycology course at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Bocas del Toro, Panama. As a graduate student from a fish ecology lab, I had very little previous experience in phycology; needless to say, the intensive and rich training I received throughout the field course was truly invaluable to me and the success of my dissertation research. In both field and laboratory settings, I learned an extensive variety of practical skills and techniques for sampling, accurate identification, and proper preservation of macroalgae. I rapidly gained experience identifying Caribbean macroalgal species underwater in situ, which prepared me for the underwater visual sampling of macroalgae that I conducted in the Bahamas for my dissertation research a few weeks after completing the field phycology course. Having undergone this phycological training and experience, I am now able to investigate the community-level effects of Pacific red lionfish on macroalgae throughout invaded Caribbean reefs. Finally, perhaps one of the greatest benefits that I gained from my field course experience was the opportunity to network with experts and other graduate students in the field of phycology from all over the world, with whom I hope to foster potential future collaborations.
Ruth examining algae with her classmates and professor in the field
Advisor: Charles Amsler - University of Alabama at Birmingham, AL, USA
Ruth McDowell, a 4th year Ph.D. candidate at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, used the Hannah T. Croasdale Fellowship to attend the 2012 Marine Algae course at Friday Habor Laboratories. She spent 5 weeks immersed in macroalgal study, collection, identification, and experimentation. She was able to dive in a kelp forest to aid in creating a comprehensive macroalgal species list and conducted an independent project using an oximeter to measure the wound-induced oxidative burst of the kelp Saccharina latissima.