In 2014, Viewpoint’s Science Department Chair Mr. Craig Didden and Viewpoint alum Brad Martin ’13 had an opportunity to work with Dr. Peter Edmunds, a marine ecologist from California State University, Northridge doing research on the island of St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. Mr. Didden has been working with Dr. Edmunds for the past 10 years, and has worked on projects both in the Caribbean and French Polynesia with Dr. Edmunds and his lab.
Brad, who just completed his freshman year at the Rosentiel School of Marine Atmospheric Science at the University of Miami, worked with Dr. Edmunds for four weeks this summer. Brad focused on the long-term changes in the coral reefs surrounding St. John. Brad also assisted with all aspects of field work, including extensive scuba diving, and conducted research focused on the interactions between soft corals and fire corals. Part of Brad’s work was designing a research project that required him to test a specific hypothesis. Brad commented that this experience allowed him to participate in the gritty, real science that is otherwise only seen in a condensed and colorless methods section of a scientific paper. Brad was involved in all aspects of the research, from scrubbing settlement tiles clean to laying out a transect line for his personal research to maintaining the research vessel’s engine; all of these tacks helped to broadened his skill set both in and out of the water.
This is the second time that a Viewpoint student has been chosen by Dr. Edmunds to be a research assistant down in St. John. In 2012, Amanda Arnold’ 11 was awarded a Research Experience for Undergraduates, REU, from The National Science Foundation and assisted Dr. Edmunds and his graduate students.
Read more about the trip here.