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Christopher Jackson

A Summer to Remember

posted August 07, 2014

I have just finished the Internship and I have no doubt in saying that this was an absolutely fantastic summer. I learned so much about geology, evolution, and how science works in a lab setting. Sam and I finished out project on the Surface area to volume ratio in ostracods compared to temperature and time. We concluded the temperature did have an effect on the surface area to ratio in ostracods, however, only a small one and it is likely there were other factors affecting the surface area to volume ratio in ostracods. I am very excited to present our poster in the coming AGU (American Geophysical Union) in San Francisco.

Looking back, I am so glad that I applied to this program. I have learned so much, and met so many amazing people I can hardly imagine any other experience like it. I think my favorite part of the internship was the trip to beach/tide pools. I got a first-hand look at how we can see ancient life in our everyday life. During the trip, I also learned much about how you can derive clues about ancient earth just looking at the rocks around you that you would normally not give a second glance. Overall, I feel this program was an amazing experience and I am definitely motivate to look more into the field of earth science.

Field Trips and Projects

posted July 18, 2014

At week 5, Sam and I have started work on our final project. We decided to test Allen’s rule on the ostracods, which we have been collecting more data on. Allen’s rule states that as temperature increases, the surface area to body size ratio also increase, as seen when comparing an arctic hare to a desert hare. We have predicted that the ostracods will not follow Allen’s rule, as allen’s rule has only been tested on terrestrial animals, and most ostracods are marine animals. To test this hypothesis, we will be calculating the surface area to body size ratio for the ostracods in our database, and then mapping that in accordance to the geologic time scales and for more recent ostracods, latitude and longitude.

Last Monday and Tuesday, we also took our overnight trip to the pinnacles. When we got there, we took and amazing hike where we were able to see much of the geologic forms there. Unfortunately when we got back, we discovered that the pool which we were looking forward too had been closed. As a note to anybody else going to the pinnacles, the pool opens at 10am and closes at 6pm, which was very disappointing. However, we still had lots of fun and and Tuesday, we had lots of fun collecting ancient brachiopods, bivalves, and crabs along the road. Next Monday, we will be taking another trip to the tide pools, which I look forward to with great anticipation.

First Week

posted June 27, 2014

When I first arrived for the History of Life Internship, if is safe to say I was more than a little nervous. In fact, I confused myself so much that I ended up in the wrong building and had to ask for directions to the Hartley conference center. However, once I finally reached the conference center just in time for orientation to begin, I found myself in an amazing, inclusive, warm and friendly environment. In the first day alone, I met so many amazing people and made so many friends, with the help of many, many icebreakers throughout the day.

Throughout the second week, I feeI that I became accustomed to the pattern in which most days play out; an interesting educational section usually from 9 to 12 and after lunch, the continuing data collecting for ostracods and occasionally learning how to program R. Last Wednesday, we experimented with Google Earth and learned about the many exciting features of Google Earth, including how to make a tour, how to select for only certain places, such as schools or parks, and how to “bookmark” a certain place and import a video or picture to represent the bookmarked place. Along with these features we also flooded San Francisco, and were able to see the devastating effects of the rising sea levels we currently face today.

I am very excited for the weeks to come, including the much anticipated field trips to Berkeley and the Pinnacles. I actually went to the Pinnacles when I was about 11, so it will be interesting to see how much the Pinnacles have changed. Last time I went there, I was lucky enough to see a California condor and I hope I will get lucky again this time, because these birds are truly a magnificent sight to see. When I had visited the park, I had also gone caving in several amazing carvings and I hope to be able to go caving again on this trip.