Katie Douglas, USF

PhD student, University of South Florida College of Marine Science 

Bio: My interest in marine science began during the summer of 2008, when I was an undergraduate studying at the Duke University Marine Lab in Beaufort, NC. Dr. Enric Sala visited the lab and spoke about coral reef ecosystems and the challenges these ecosystems face due to anthropogenic pollution, and I became fascinated by the delicate balance of chemistry that marine life needs to thrive. The balance of the CO2 system is vital to marine life, and the more I learned about it, the more I wanted to know.  I began graduate school at the USF College of Marine Science in 2012 and found a niche in Dr. Bob Byrne’s CO2 Sensors lab. I participated in the 2013 NOAA West Coast Ocean Acidification cruise (my first cruise in the Pacific Ocean!), where my USF lab mates and I measured pH and carbonate ion concentrations. Our measurements were added to the suite of chemical analyses that other scientists were performing onboard the ship.  The compiled measurements give us an in-depth look at the changing chemistry and biology of the north Pacific, a region of critical importance in ocean acidification research. The cruise gave me valuable insights into how collaborative, interdisciplinary research is conducted, and I had a fantastic time working alongside some of the world’s leading experts in ocean acidification research.  I look forward to sharing similar experiences during the 2016 WCOA cruise and to answering important questions about the chemical and biological dynamics of our changing oceans.

What I’m doing on this cruise: The USF team will be measuring the seawater’s pH and dissolved carbonate levels.  The pH tells scientists how acidic the seawater is (a lower pH corresponds to more acidic, corrosive water, and vice versa), and the level of dissolved carbonate, which shell-building creatures need to form their “houses,” tells scientists how much shell-building material is available in the seawater. By measuring these two quantities, scientists can better understand how hospitable the seawater is for shell-building marine creatures.

Katie’s LinkedIn page

Katie next to the CTD rosette aboard the R/V Fairweather during the 2013 West Coast Ocean Acidification cruise.