When invited to join an oyster restoration project, Sarah Mikulak ‘05 applied for and received a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship. Says the marine and freshwater biology major, “the best part of the project was that I got to play in the mud,” but she adds that sorting out her subjects and conveying them to the Jackson Estuarine Laboratory was laborious. However, by the end of the summer Sarah knew that she could conduct a research project by herself. In the future, she wants to use her knowledge and experience to conserve and restore marine ecosystems.
Mentoring Sarah throughout the project was Raymond Grizzle, research associate professor in Zoology. Grizzle specializes in invertebrate Zoology and works principally in coastal waters. This was the first SURF project he has mentored in his five years at UNH. He helped Sarah get started and served as a resource for her throughout the work. “I am really proud of Sarah and the work she did,” he says. Grizzle says he is also pleased with the new ideas and information about oyster predation that he gained through his mentorship.
Sarah’s project was a spin-off of research on oyster reef restoration techniques conducted the previous year by Jennifer Greene, a senior laboratory technician at the Jackson Estuarine Laboratory. Jennifer supported Sarah’s work in many ways—from ordering supplies, to driving the boat, to teaching her new skills she will use beyond college.
Sarah presented her findings at the annual UNH Undergraduate Research Conference and published her research in Inquiry, UNH’s Journal of Undergraduate Research. Read her article: A Story About Critters that Dine On New Hampshire Oysters.