Hello, everyone! My name is Jocelyn Navarro. I am from Pomona, California and will be starting my PhD in the Enquist Lab in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona. I do not have a solidified area of study, but I am fascinated by plant ecophysiology. I also love plant anatomy and would like to further develop and enhance my data analysis skills.
b. Give us a brief summary of your internship project. What is the study system? Primary research questions? With whom are you working?
This summer, I have been working with Brian Enquist as a research assistant at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in Gothic, Colorado. We have been recording carbon and water flux measurements along a 1,000 meter elevation gradient! This research started in 2003, and it has been exciting to be able to be a part of this study and learn how to measure fluxes.
c. What is your role in the research team in terms of tasks and responsibilities, and how do these relate to the aims of the research project?
I am responsible for conducting fieldwork, recording and maintaining data. These tasks get us closer to our research goals of understanding water and carbon flux processes in a sub-alpine ecosystem.
d. What were your specific goals for the upcoming internship? These can be both scientific and personal. Are you meeting, or did you (if the internship is complete) accomplish your goals? Please explain with specific examples if possible.
For this internship, I wanted to improve my data collecting and organizational skills. I have collected data in the past, but I would typically wait a couple of days before entering the data or scanning the data sheets. I made it a goal to enter the data as soon as the data has been collected. I have been able to meet this goal!
e. What skills or knowledge from your prior experience and education did you find useful during this internship? Did you develop any new skills or knowledge? Please explain.
I have conducted research at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory since the summer of 2018. My past research experiences have allowed me to gain an understanding of the subalpine ecosystem present near the field station and how to effectively conduct field research in these conditions. However, I was able to develop new skills. For example, in the past, I have used the Licor 6400-XT to measure water-use efficiency. However, this summer, I used the same machine to measure soil respiration. This required me to switch the leaf chamber to a soil chamber. I am glad I learned this new skill. I have also learned how to use other Licor machines such as the LI-850 CO2/H20 Gas Analyzer and Licor 7500 CO2/H20 Gas Analyzer.
f. How has the COVID19 pandemic altered your plans or your experience during this internship?
The COVID19 pandemic luckily did not alter my plans for this internship. I had the opportunity to conduct fieldwork at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory again this year! I was able to conduct fieldwork with the use of safety precautions such as a face mask and frequent application of hand sanitizer.