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Sediment traps in Nauset Marsh

Catching Fallen Plankton

MIT-WHOI Joint Program students Alice Alpert and Alexis Fischer retrieved sediment traps recently from Nauset Marsh in Orleans, Mass. Fischer, a biology student, is studying harmful algal blooms produced annually by the plankton Alexandrium fundyense in the marsh. Fischer wants to know how many cysts form in the blooms and what factors cause the blooms to start and end. For instance, plankton cells transition into cysts (similar to seeds), then fall to the marsh bottom at the end of a bloom, which is an important stage in the plankton's life cycle. Fischer said she invited Alpert, a geology and geophysics student studying corals, to experience field work in a new setting. (Photo courtesy of Alexis Fischer, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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