Danielle Siegert, a marine biology and oceanography major at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, studied carbon cycling this summer at Padilla Bay NERR in Mt. Vernon, WA. She collected samples from transects in one of the largest continuous eelgrass meadows in the US. Danielle learned techniques for studying carbon cycling in the sediment, such as measuring bulk density, loss on ignition and grain size analysis. She found less eelgrass in areas with high concentrations of carbon in the sediment. Eelgrass provides an important source of shelter and food for many marine animals, and it also prevents erosion.
Danielle will be continuing her work by writing a senior thesis on the impacts of temperature and carbon dioxide concentration on eelgrass beds. She plans to apply to graduate school and work with coastal or estuarine ecosystems. Danielle finds these ecosystems interesting because they provide habitat and nursery grounds for so many species and the human impacts are immediate.