2011-2012 PERFECT/GK12 Fellows

Jenna Spackeen

Masters Student

Email: jspackeen@vims.edu
Phone: (804) 684-7597
Office: CBH N314
Department of interest: Physical Science: Chemical oceanography

Advisor:  Dr. Deborah Bronk

Previous Degrees: B.S.  Biology and Marine Science (University of Miami, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science)

My research interests are broad ranging from marine ecology and trophic interactions to biogeochemical cycling and climate change.  I am particularly fascinated with the role that microbes and phytoplankton play in the cycling of nitrogen and phosphorus, and how climate change may alter the stoichiometric relationship between nitrogen and phosphorus utilization.  My thesis will determine the uptake rates of nitrogen and phosphorus by dominant Antarctic microbial groups by applying a methodology that combines flow cytometric sorting with 15N tracer techniques and 33P radioactive analysis.

I received my B.S. in marine science and biology from the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS).  For my undergraduate honors thesis I used stable isotopes to analyze the food web dynamics of a negative estuary in the Northern Gulf of California.  My thesis was the product of an internship that I received for two consecutive summers at CEDO, a biological field station in Puerto Peñasco, Mexico.

This year I am participating in the NSF GK-12 PERFECT program. I applied for the Fellowship because I would like to improve my communication skills and because I am very interested in educational outreach.  I love sharing my passion for the ocean with others and this program is providing me with a perfect opportunity.  GK-12 challenges me to introduce high school students to scientific topics using a marine science slant.  I have been placed in an 11th and 12th grade environmental science class, and I am loving every minute of it.