We are excited to announce our Nancy Voss Memorial Travel Award for the upcoming conference. We received many excellent applications.
The awardees are: Gareth Fee, Cassady Olson, and Nidhi Vijayan. Congratulations to all three students and we look forward to seeing them at the CIAC conference!
My name is Gareth Fee, I grew up in the inland city of Pretoria, South Africa always dreaming of working with wildlife. It was not until I was 16 when I started scuba diving that I discovered the wonders of the underwater world. I was instantly hooked and knew I wanted to pursue a career in Marine Biology. My main research interests are in ecology and animal behaviour. Cephalopods are fascinating creatures and seemed to be the perfect fit for my interests. Last year I completed my honours with a project on octopus drilling. Now, for my Masters I am doing a wider ecological study on Octopus vulgaris in the coastal kelp forest of False Bay, looking at their density, distribution and trophic interactions within different microhabitats. When not working on my research I spend my time reading, diving, surfing, or rock climbing in the Cederberg.
Most animals form a symbiotic relationship with bacteria to help them survive. I am interested in learning why certain bacteria are selected, how they are established, and the evolutionary history of the relationship. My interest in marine microbes began during my undergraduate career in India, and it led me to study symbiosis in marine sponges during my Master’s. I gained further experience studying marine biofilms and polychaetes as a Research Assistant with Dr. Michael Hadfield at the University of Hawai‘i. I’m currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cell Biology with Dr. Spencer Nyholm at the University of Connecticut, USA. We use the Hawaiian bobtail squid Euprymna scolopes as a model to study symbiotic bacterial interactions. E. scolopes have been studied for a few decades now and have two symbiotic organs, the light organ and accessory nidamental glands (ANG). The ANG possesses bacteria that are transferred to the eggs and protect against biofouling.