Congratulations to Dr. Patricia Myer, the department’s newest PhD! Here is a description and some photos of Dr. Myer’s PhD journey, in her own words.
My Ph.D. dissertation defense was on March 20th, 2023, and titled “A Critical Examination of the Factors Controlling Methylmercury Uptake into Marine Plankton.”
I am a student in Dr. Robert Mason’s group and my research includes a three-year long time series of methylmercury in phytoplankton in Narragansett Bay, RI, a research cruise in the Northwest Pacific (NOAA GU1905), and laboratory uptake experiments with the dinoflagellate O. marina.
The goal of these projects was ultimately to compare the effects of biological and environmental variables (e.g., cell size, temperature, dissolved organic matter) between laboratory experiments and environmental studies to try to disentangle the leading drivers of methylmercury accumulation into plankton. The main takeaway is that relationships seen in laboratory experiments, both from my work and the literature, are not nearly as straightforward in the environment. There is a lot more work to be done to understand these complex relationships.
Currently, I have one publication from my prior undergraduate work (https://doi.org/10.1007/s10646-022-02548-0) and one from my work in the Mason lab that is not part of my dissertation (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2022.134609). I am currently preparing three papers relating to my dissertation for publication.
This work was funded by NSF Chemical Oceanography and the UConn Predoctoral Award.