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Aditya Sriram

The final week at the History of Life program...

posted August 11, 2014

The final week at the History of Life program was extremely rewarding as well as busy! Sid and I completed our project that compared animal genera mean volume across the 5 different extinction boundaries. After analyzing all our data and constructing plots in R, we came to the conclusion that there was not enough significant change of body size from before an extinction to after an extinction. Therefore, our original hypothesis of body size increasing across an extinction boundary was disproved. Presenting this research was very satisfying because it showed that our work led to a conclusion that is relevant in the geological world. Other than project work, we took a tour of the Stanford farm. It was an amazing experience, as we used fresh vegetables such as zucchini, squash, tomatoes, and peppers as toppings to make our own pizza. The result was a delicious pizza, in fact, one of the best I've ever had. All in all, this summer was one of the most educational and entertaining summers in my life, and I will never forget the History of Life 2014 interns. Special thanks to Noel, Dr. Payne, and Jenny for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this fantastic program.

Now that we are fully engrossed ...

posted Jul 20, 2014

Now that we are fully engrossed in our work in the internship, we have finally moved on to project discussions. My partner Sid and I have selected extinction selectivity as our primary focus. We hope to find an obvious trend in the size of ostracods before and after every mass extinction. Our prediction is that ostracods tend to get larger over time, because only the larger ones survive and thrive after extinctions. To test this, we will be using stratigraphic range data of marine and terrestrial ostracods. After getting the data, we will plot each genus’s size pre and post-extinction, and whether or not that genus remained alive. This will help us make a conclusion on the trend over time.

Our group of interns went on an overnight trip to the Pinnacles on Monday and Tuesday, and it was a very informative and enjoyable experience. We went on a five mile hike in which we saw various geological formations of importance, including volcanic rock. The next day, we stopped on the highway and looked for fossils in different outcrops. I found the crab fossils to be particularly interesting. It’s amazing how crabs can be perfectly preserved with their shape intact after so many years. On Monday, we are visiting the beach in search of more fossils, and I know that it will be a valuable trip as well as extremely fun!

First Impressions

posted Jun 27, 2014

My two weeks at Stanford so far have been far smoother and more efficient than my previous year's experience.
As a member of the History of Life program, I am being introduced to more and more fascinating facts and research material.
We have been collecting data on ostracods so far, and I must say that the process is far more streamlined for me this year.
Furthermore, we have enjoyed the pleasure of engaging in several hands-on activities. On one occasion, we observed several different fossils and classified them based on the way the were preserved.
It gave me and my group a chance to use deductive reasoning for geologic purposes. Finally, I have made several new friends, and we are having fun!! We keep ourselves entertained throughout the tedious process of data collection, and experiment heavily with Google Earth.
The Arc GIS session was truly a useful time, as I learned about many of the useful functions maps have. All in all, my first few weeks at Stanford have been above excellent (and the cherry on top was the US advancing out of the "Group of Death" GO USA!).

a trend of larger ostracods in areas with larger biomass deposits

posted Aug 13, 2013

Our group’s final project was rather difficult to complete, as we had to analyze over 4,000 ostracod data samples. However, we managed to complete it on time and gave a very informative presentation. The final results of our presentation showed a trend of larger ostracods in areas with larger biomass deposits. It was challenging gathering all of the data, but luckily our whole internship group helped out with the data collection. The entire summer was a valuable experience for me. I learned many new concepts and absorbed a lot of information from the various presenters. Not only did we study different topics but we had fun while doing it. I hope that I can do a similar program next year at Stanford.

A trilobite
A trilobite
The Thinker sculpture
At the Cantor Art Museum


Even more fun

posted Jul 26, 2013

My last two weeks at the History of Life internship have been far more enjoyable and interesting that the first few (the first few weeks were fun, the last two have been even more fun). Project work has been challenging, but is definitely a learning experience. Our group is trying to figure out the relationship between ostracod fossils in petroleum causing an increase in biomass in the area. We are doing lots of R programming as well as Excel work.

I enjoyed both of the recent field trips. The art museum was much more fascinating than I envisioned, as the many face masks (pictured here) and paintings made me appreciate the detail that artists use in their work.

Furthermore, the Berkeley Hayward Fault field trip helped me understand how engineer plan building construction in order to be earthquake safe (Memorial stadium, for example, pictured here). We also sorted many ancient fossils, which was different because we had to use our own classification method, not one that already existed. I am already looking forward to the final presentation, which I hope goes very well for our group!

Aditya at Cal Stadium


new appreciations

posted Jul 6, 2013

During the two weeks I have been here at the Stanford History of Life internship, I have learned many new concepts. I have enjoyed collecting data on many interesting types of Echinoderms and ostracods. I have a new appreciation for the beach, as the next time I go, I will be looking for fossils in the sand. The field trip this week was extremely beneficial to my knowledge. I definitely picked up several new concepts. Although data collection can be strenuous at times, I know that in the long run, it will lead to beneficial results.