Student Research at Woods Hole, MA - October 2013



Student Research at Woods Hole, MA - October 2013

St. Kate's students attend classes in the Twin Cities, and many take advantage of the amazing opportunities for research and internships found on campus and locally. For many Katies, however, their research and internship experiences can lead them to study and collaborate around the country and world.

Marine Biology at Woods Hole


Emily Cardinal, a senior at St. Kate's, is majoring in biology and is interested in pursuing a Master's degree in marine biology after graduation. Some would believe that gaining experience in this field as an undergraduate would be challenging when attending school in the Midwest.

At St. Kate's, however, Emily had been doing research on cuttlefish and many of the sources she read came from the Marine Biological Laboratories (MBL) at Woods Hole, MA. She applied to the Research Experiences for Undergrads (REU) Program at the Hanlon lab at MBL and was accepted.

Emily spent her summer in Woods Hole, MA collaborating with a group of scientists on a project entitled “The effect of light intensity on iridescent expression in long-fin squid (Doryteuthis pealeii).” Squid are known for their neurally and structurally (via iridophores) initiated coloration transformations. Emily and her research team “sought to discover if iridophore expression would match the environmental light intensity as its behavioral role is unknown.” Read the entire abstract with results »

Gained Experience


Emily took a lot away from her experience. She strengthened her skills in researching primary literature and helped develop a research project from the beginning, including the formulation of a question and hypothesis. By the end of her time at Woods Hole she had created a poster and presented the research team’s findings. View Emily’s presentation »

Working with a live marine species and performing behavioral experiments with them was rewarding, and she was excited to tell everyone about the work she was doing. According to Emily, “The scientific community at Woods Hole was also an amazing experience in itself.”

Real-World Applications

Gaining this research experience as an undergraduate, Emily believes, has prepared her well for her future career plans. MBL is a prestigious marine science hub, and scientists from around the world have come to perform research here. Having this experience may open many doors for Emily in the future.

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