Danielle Glynn - Dynamic Undergrad Researcher
One of the most beautiful things about any tropical reef is its coral. These living structures have such vibrant colors and interesting patterns. From a scientific perspective, coral can give us a vivid picture of past climates. Danielle Glynn works to enhance scientific understanding of oceanic carbon-14 levels using coral samples. For about a year and a half, Danielle has been working on coral samples from the Galapagos Islands and Palau Island, Indonesia. In a nutshell, she acidifies them, and cryogenically freezes down their gases to isolate their carbon. These samples are analyzed by members of the Druffel lab at the Keck Accelerator Mass Spectrometer for 14C analysis. Danielle’s project is going very well. In fact, she will be traveling to Paris, France this summer to present her findings!
Some days it’s just awesome, things just work perfectly. In research, you get to learn things, and add to the knowledge of mankind. I’m thinking 20 years from now, someone might see my paper and read it. They’ll think I’m a genius!
When she first joined the Druffel Research Group, Danielle hadn’t taken many Earth System Science courses. In fact, she had taken only oceanography. Danielle was eager to learn, though. She read all the research articles Ellen Druffel gave her, and she talked science with the ESS Graduate Students (Staryl McCabe-Glynn, Danielle’s mom and member of the Johnson Research Group and Alysha Coppola, part of the Druffel Research Group). Danielle’s reading library grew. She looked at the citations in the research papers to find additional reading material, and she asked questions! In her own words, “You aim where your interests take you. I love choosing what I read. Everything I read, I know it’s enforcing something I need to know.”
Danielle also found the work interesting – she could actually see past climate in corals! One of the most surprising things was how quickly she got used to the chemicals… Just ask Danielle about liquid nitrogen ice cream!
** Watch for Danielle at the UROP Poster Session this May! You can read more about her project, and see the final results. **
|Favorite Piece of Equipment:||In addition to the really “cool” chemicals (i.e. liquid nitrogen), Danielle enjoys the power tools that are used to drill the sample out of the slab of coral.|
A Typical Day in the Lab Includes:
|Taking samples off the graphitization line, and prepping the line for the next batch of samples. Once removed from the line, the samples are acidified with phosphoric acid to convert the calcium carbonate into carbon dioxide. Using dry ice/isopropanol and liquid nitrogen as traps, the carbon dioxide is moved out of the little vial and into one of the ovens where the graphite is produced. Once the 14C measurements are made, the data is plotted in Microsoft Excel, so trends can be identified.|
|Piece of Advice:||Get into research early. One year is not enough to cement your knowledge. You totally want more experience than that to build a concrete basis. Also, get into a lab like mine with really nice people.|