- Written by Kate
Her work in Big Sur developed into a three year career as a research assistant and diver for various graduate students and professors at UCSC, as well as the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration and the US Geological Survey based out of Santa Cruz and Monterey Bay. During this time period she was privileged to work along the central coast of California, the coast of Kenya, and with the US Fish & Wildlife Service on Midway Atoll. Kate regards her work experiences up to this point as the best textbook in science anyone could obtain. During her work as a research assistant Kate instructed undergraduates in a marine botany lab and taught an undergraduate, now PhD hopeful, how to do research. "The most gratifying thing about research is using it as a teaching tool. The stories that come out of field research help people grasp some of the most difficult concepts in biology in a fun way."
Kate joined the UAB research team in 2009 to research filamentous species of algae (endophytes) which form symbioses with larger species algae when they grow throughout the surface of their blades. She is now working on her PhD at UAB which continues to investigate the relationship between the endophytes and their host algae. "From an evolutionary angle, endosymbioses are incredibly interesting. In such an isolated place as Antarctica this relationship between algae could drive adaptation and give us insight into communities that we haven't had before." She will also look at climate change impacts on the subtidal algal community using increased temperatures and decrease seawater pH as representative parameters. She has always had a great interest in algae wherever she has worked, and is extremely excited to continue her research in Antarctica. After graduate school Kate hopes to continue teaching and research in algal ecology and physiology.