Glimpses from an Internship in Marine Ecology in France
Sustainable Coastal Management student, Katrina Feliciano, from Novia UAS, is pursuing an internship in Marine Ecology in Sète, France. Feliciano is studying in the Sustainable Coastal Managment Bachelor’s Degree Programme at Novia UAS and has a previous degree in Agribusiness Management.
“I am very interested in marine and coastal environments, and having worked with fishermen in the Philippines, I want to deepen my knowledge in marine biology and ecology to support sustainable management decisions, so that is why I applied to Novia UAS “, says Katrina Feliciano.
How did you end up joining the Aquacosm field experiment?
My teacher Jonna Öst-Engström asked me if I am interested in applying for an internship about mesocosms. At first, I didn't know what a mesocosm is but, after learning that it's a kind of experiment set up which focuses on studying the effects of heatwaves on planktons, I quickly became excited. I am generally interested in learning new things related to marine and coastal ecosystems, as well as conducting research. The topic is also interesting and, for me, very timely so I took the chance to apply and I'm very lucky to have been accepted.
What have you been doing as an intern?
My main objective is to understand what a mesocosm is and learn about the different scientific methods undertaken in experiments like this one. So, I am mainly involved with activities from the initial setting up the mesocosms, daily sampling, as well as supporting teams in the laboratory with filtration of Chl, DNA, HPLC, POC, NH4 analysis, and other logistical tasks that are needed to support the experiment.
What are the pros and cons within this line of work?
The pros are learning how mesocosm experiments are done, learning about different kinds of laboratory analyses, and collaborating with members of the science community. This experience compliments the things we studied in our course for coastal ecology, monitoring of aquatic bodies, and research methodologies because it shows how they are applied in practice during research projects like this one. Also, two bonus points of this internship are the international work experience, and the amazing French food. As for cons, there were some language barriers at first, but I learned useful words that I could use daily and eventually it got better.
Can you give any tips for others who wish to join a similar internship?
I would highly recommend this kind of internship to someone who is curious and interested in learning about mesocosm experiments and how research by experts is conducted in the field. Someone who takes the initiative to learn and ask questions, is physically ready to work out and carry many water samples (haha), is open to learning a new language, and is excited to absorb a lot of new information while making lasting connections with amazing people.