Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation
Main content start

Nicole Wong

The End

posted August 08, 2014

On our last field trip we ventured out to New Brighton beach and the Bean Hollow tide pools. There, we encountered sea urchins, sand crabs, hermit crabs, and snails. The next day we were able to use a microscope to examine the sand samples we collected, and I found a microgastropod (pictured below).

Melody and I have finished our research project, and we concluded that the strongest predictor of modern ostracod body size was temperature. The other correlations between oxygen, salinity, and depth were not as statistically significant. When we created a poster and presented our research to the other interns, I felt like a scientist because I was communicating results that nobody had found before.

As I gathered with the other interns in the Hartley Conference Center on the last day, I was reminded of the first day of the internship in the same exact room - that day, I walked into orientation with strangers. However, this time I was surrounded by friends. One of the best parts of this internship was meeting these incredible people with the same passion for science.

A special thank you to Noel (the Ostragod), who helped us enormously through our project and made the internship an amazing experience, and to Jenny, who gave us this opportunity.

Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

posted July 22, 2014

It’s hard to believe that it’s nearing the end of July already. Our research projects are well underway; Melody and I are investigating the effects of oxygen levels, temperature, salinity, and other variables on ostracod body size from ostracod samples in the Gulf of California. So far, we’ve finished organizing our data and we are starting to analyze it by writing R programs, which is an interesting challenge in itself.

In these three weeks, we ventured out of our Stanford classroom several times to places I’ve never visited prior to our trips. On July 1, we took a trip to UC Berkeley to visit the massive collection in their Museum of Paleontology and were given the opportunity to examine everything from crinoids to microfossils to sabertooth cat jaws. Later on, when looking up on the football stadium seats built on the Hayward fault, we could see that the seats were purposely built several inches apart so that the movement of the fault would not crack them. More evidence of the fault activity was observed through the nearly 90 degree turn in the nearby creek’s path.

From July 14 to 15, we drove over to Pinnacles National Park to camp and hike. The five mile hike (though it seemed more like ten miles at the time) was both tiring and satisfying. We were able to observe the fine details of different igneous rocks, and at the highest point in our hike we could see the results of fault line movement in the split rock and hot springs where clumps of trees grew. Visiting sedimentary rock outcrops the next day and searching through the rock pieces in the hopes of finding some with fossils imprinted on them was an entirely new experience for me, but it was very rewarding. We stumbled upon bivalves, crabs, gastropods and brachiopods, some of which I was able to take home and start my own fossil collection.

In between our outings, we have been busy finishing over half of the ostracod volumes and learning about various topics in science, from philosophy to the mollusca phylum. I’ve enjoyed the field trips a great deal because it gives an opportunity to explore - looking at pictures cannot capture the feeling of climbing up to the highest point on the trail or finding my first fossil. Hopefully, this summer will last a bit longer because I don’t want to leave.

New Experiences

posted June 30, 2014

These past two weeks have been an amazing start to my first internship, from getting to know my friendly fellow interns to compiling data on ostracods. As I've never had much experience with earth sciences before, much of what we are learning is new to me, but I've already gained so much knowledge in these nine days.

Some of my favorite parts are the activities, including the fossil examination (the fossilized shark vertebrate, pictured below, was one that I found particularly intriguing) and the Google Earth tour (modeling San Francisco with a sea level rise of 15 ft, below). I also found that using R to examine and visualize our data collection is quite powerful, and though it's tedious at times to collect and correct the data, it's satisfying to contribute and see the data collection grow.

What we do here in the internship I never would have been able to experience in school, and I look forward to the rest of the summer!