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Master's student honored for research in aquatic biology

Katyanne Shoemaker Katyanne Shoemaker, a second-year master’s degree student in marine biology, received honors for an outstanding student presentation in the Aquatic Sciences meeting for the Association for the Sciences in Limnology and Oceanography. Her poster presentation was among the top 3% that merited an award; only 23 of the 721 presentations received the recognition.

Shoemaker’s presentation focused on "Microbial diversity associated with copepods in the North Atlantic Subtropical Gyre." A kind of zooplankton, copepods are a group of tiny crustaceans found in the sea and in bodies of fresh water. They are used as bioindicators: species that allow scientists to monitor the health of an ecosystem.

Understanding micro-environments in the tropical ocean

Copepod Shoemaker’s research is revealing distinct microbial communities in different tropical zooplankton species. Her results suggest that micro-environments associated with the numerous and diverse zooplankton species provide many unique niches for bacteria; these "nutrient-rich islands" can be highly beneficial in the nutrient-poor tropical open ocean.

I am so thankful for all of the opportunities afforded me by the Moisander lab and the UMass Dartmouth Biology department. As I enter my PhD work, I'm excited to continue my studies to answer more of the important questions in the field of microbial ecology.

As part of her research, Shoemaker has been developing and applying next-generation sequencing technology. Her entire dataset had 1.2 million sequence reads.

Research in Bermuda and Hawaii

Shoemaker did her undergraduate research at Oklahoma State University and joined Dr. Pia Moisander’s lab at UMass Dartmouth’s Department of Biology in the fall of 2011.

As a member of the lab, Shoemaker has participated in several study cruises to the Sargasso Sea, off the coast of Bermuda, sampling for copepods.

Her outstanding student award follows a research opportunity for Shoemaker last year, when she was accepted to participate in a month-long summer course sponsored by C-MORE (Center for Microbial Oceanography in Research and Education) at the University of Hawaii.

She plans to defend her M.S. thesis in the fall, and will continue her research in the Moisander lab as a Ph.D. student.

Co-authors in Shoemaker’s presentation were Elizabeth McCliment, a postdoctoral researcher in the Moisander lab, and Dr. Pia Moisander. The research was supported by an award from NSF Biological Oceanography to Dr. Moisander and Dr. Mark Altabet of UMass Dartmouth’s School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST).

More information

Microbial Ecology: Moisander Lab at UMass Dartmouth

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