CELS student dives into fish research

“This has definitely made me realize how much preparation there is. You can’t just jump in the ocean and start counting fish. You have to read the literature first, make a dive plan, go through permitting — it’s a process and a commitment.”

Christine Gardiner conducts research in the British Virgin Islands. (Courtesy photo)

Research fellow: Christine Gardiner
Hometown: Houston, TX
School: University of Rhode Island
Major: Marine Biology
Mentor: Graham Forrester
Project: Do food web changes explain population declines of coral reef fishes?

One key perk of Christine Gardiner’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) with Professor Graham Forrester is spending the month of July diving and researching coral reef fish in the British Virgin Islands.

Another benefit for the born and raised southerner has been to experience her first summer in the Ocean State.

But mainly, says Gardiner, a senior, the project seeking to isolate causes of long-term change in the abundance of small reef fishes offers the chance to explore educational and career options.

“Honestly,” she says, “I’m still not sure what I want to do. I’ve worked on different research projects — mangrove studies, coral studies, and now this new fish study.”…[Read more]