Catching Up With… Jill Harris!

Ph.D. student Jill Harris gives us an update on what’s keeping her, and the other lab members, busy these days:

This is “fellowship season” around the Smith Lab. Lots of deadlines for student scholarships, grants, and fellowships are coming up, so many of us are busy polishing our research proposals. Sometimes, science can seem like a never-ending quest of finding enough money to do the cool work we get to do.


A snapshot of what a herbarium looks like

Students in Jen’s phycology class (me, Levi Lewis, Amanda Carter, Molly Gleason, Susan Kram, and Emily Kelly, who is the TA) are learning how to press and preserve local algae for our class herbarium projects. Last week, we all braved the cold San Diego winter weather to explore tide pools in the new Scripps marine reserve (officially, the “San Diego-Scripps State Marine Conservation Area) and collect some samples. By the end of the quarter, we should all have lovely photographs of our specimens to share.

I am spending long hours at the microscope identifying microscopic algae from my research in Palmyra. It may not be as glamorous as scuba diving, but some of the algae really are beautiful. Plus, as I spend more time and effort on this project, it’s really nice to get more confident in my knowledge of marine algae taxonomy.