Wendy: Mussel-ling My Way into Marine Biology

 Wendy sampling mussels on Bodega Marine Reserve

Wendy sampling mussels on Bodega Marine Reserve

Because I spent most of my childhood living in Denver, Colorado and Upstate New York, I was never able to truly experience living by the ocean, though I was always fascinated by the mystery and beauty of the sea. I’ve always been especially interested in animals and natural science, and knew I wanted to pursue a future in helping animals. Ever since I started school at UC Davis last year as a freshman, I gradually became more aware of my interest in wildlife conservation and biology and wanted to explore the different scopes of wildlife, particularly marine biology. The summer classes at the Bodega Marine Laboratory seemed a perfect fit.

the BML experience gave me valuable insight into current marine environmental issues and how research is conducted

In the short six weeks that I have spent here, I have learned an incredible amount of knowledge about the ocean and the incredible organisms living in it. Most notably, I was able to work with Dr. Emily Rivest to develop an independent project involving juvenile mussels collected from the Bodega Marine Reserve intertidal environments. I was able to assist with mussel collection, lab work, and data analysis, which I would likely never have had the opportunity to do in Davis. In conjunction with Emily’s research, this project could potentially determine if California mussels could be a valid bio-indicator, which would be a vital tool for scientists to help monitor the changes in ocean composition and their effects on marine organisms. I was also able to help out with a graduate student’s study on adult mussels, which allowed me to do more hands on work with various intertidal marine organisms.

Ultimately, the BML experience gave me valuable insight into current marine environmental issues and how research is conducted in order to combat these problems. I appreciated every moment of this unique and eye-opening opportunity and will dearly miss seeing the ocean every day! 

~Wendy Chen, Summer 2016