Hello Holy Cross Community!
This is Sydney Grosskopf ’20 and Katie Foley ’19 from Holy Cross’s Marine Organismal Biology Lab writing to tell you about our Summer Science Research trip to Maine! This trip is providing us the wonderful opportunity to share with you our experiences, findings, and fun stories from our weeklong trip off campus to do field Marine Science! To give you some background on our on-going summer research at Holy Cross, here is a quick summary of our projects.
Sydney: I am working on a series of food preference tests of various rocky intertidal algae for sea urchin larvae. It is accepted among the Marine Science community that urchin larvae consume phytoplankton, or single-celled micro algae, however a recent paper by Feehan et al. has showed that kelp detritus, or eroded bits of kelp, can serve as a competent food source for sea urchin larvae as well. This paper grabbed my interest and I was curious about the various algae and urchin species located in the Atlantic Ocean around MA. I have been spawning urchins and collecting common algae from the ocean this summer to run my experiments. This trip to Maine will allow me to collect Sand Dollars, so I can hopefully see if their larvae also consumes the common algae found in their rocky intertidal habitat, and more algae to continue my preference tests!
Katie: My work involves running biochemical assays on sea star eggs. The assays are tests that determine the average amount of lipid, carbohydrate, and protein constituents per egg. We’re comparing three different groups of sea stars– one cold water species, one warm water species, and the hybridized form of both species. By comparing the data from these three groups, we’re hoping to determine the evolutionary significance of different size classes of eggs and how egg size relates to energy content as a life history strategy.
In Maine, we will first be attending a lecture that our Lab advisor, Professor McAlister is giving at Shoals Marine Laboratory on Appledore Island, ME. Then we will be traveling to Bowdoin College in Brunswick, ME to work with scientists at their Schiller Costal Studies Center and to collect sea star eggs for Katie’s project, Sand Dollars for my project, and various algae for my project as well.
We hope that you will follow along with our travels and maybe learn a thing or two about Marine Biology along the way!

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