Coral Reef Research Internship, University of Essex

After some initial email contact, I was invited by Dr. David Suggett (now at University of Technology Sydney) for a month long internship in the Coral Reef Research Unit. The aim was for me to acquire skills which would aid me towards beginning a Ph.D. by assisting in the lab with coral research and husbandry.

Newly fragmented corals in the CRRU. Photo - J. Bellworthy

Newly fragmented corals in the CRRU. Photo – J. Bellworthy

The Coral Reef Research Unit (CRRU) has impressive experimental aquaria, perhaps the most extensive in the UK, and hosts a large number of students directed by Professor David Smith.

During my time at Essex, I became regularly relied upon to conduct aquaria monitoring and maintenance as well as inducting new student volunteers into the system.

In addition I had my first lessons using protocols for coral physiology, including the use of Fast Repetition Rate Fluorometry, a specialisation of Dr. Suggett, and live organism fluorescence microscopy  working alongside Dr. Philippe Laissue in the Bioimaging facility (images below, fluorescent images property of Bioimaging Lab, University of Essex).

Annotated Acropora. J. Bellworthy

Annotated Acropora. J. Bellworthy

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Acropora growing on a microscope slide. Photo - J. Bellworthy

Acropora growing on a microscope slide. Photo – J. Bellworthy