With the final teaching meeting behind me as of yesterday, I can finally say: Summer is here! I can now focus on tying up some lab work while, most importantly, prepping for my upcoming research trip. I was awarded an East Asia and Pacific Summer Institute fellowship through NSF (jointly with the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science) to conduct a short-term research project with a host researcher in Japan. Thus, come June, I'll be headed to the Akkeshi Marine Station, run by the Field Science Center for Northern Biosphere Hokkaido University, for 2.5 months. Here I'll work closely with my host researcher who has kindly agreed to work with me, Dr. Masahiro Nakaoka, on a short-term research project.
Akkeshi is in the far northern reaches of Japan, so despite orientation meetings telling all of the participants in the program to expect warm, balmy weather, I know that in my case I will not have that luxury. However, this temperate weather also brings great habitat for the fluffy sea anemone (Metridium senile), which is what I'll be working on. These anemones are the species I was collecting in California over Spring Break, and are part of the genus that is the focus of my Ph.D. dissertation. Not only will this research experience get me in situ with my anemones for an live animal lab-based project, but it will also give me the opportunity to collect some much needed specimens for my overarching questions regarding their diversity and historical distributions.
So, stay tuned for more updates during the prep and while I am there!