Bioluminescence Cruise - Blog 1

My name is Charles Golightly. For as long as I can remember I’ve been fascinated by the natural world.

As I grew, I found myself being called more and more to the ocean; the mystery of its depths; the

intrigue of exploring the unknown. That calling has led me to pursue studies in Marine Biology. My

dream is to one day conduct my own scientific research on, and to further explore the deep ocean.

Currently, I’m an undergraduate student at Florida International University, and a lowly intern in

probably (most likely) the greatest scientific lab on the planet. Under Dr. Heather Bracken-Grissom, and my mentor, Jorge Luis Perez-Moreno, I work with deep-ocean crustaceans, unlocking the mysteries of their DNA. Thanks to them, I’ve taken one more step on the long journey to realizing my dream.

Recently, I was presented the opportunity to participate in a week-long research cruise into the Atlantic

Ocean, collecting mid-water shrimp and other organisms to study bioluminescence (how they produce

their own light), and how they detect and see the bioluminescence of others. Needless to say, though I

tried to seem as calm as I could when asked if I wanted to go, internally I was exploding with excitement. With a feigned “let me check my calendar,” I quickly replied “absolutely!”

Long story short, now I’m on a boat, preparing to set sail into the middle of the ocean, and I can barely

contain myself. This blog, and the ones to follow, will hopefully give you an idea of what goes into the

research we conduct in the scientific community; the methods we use to collect samples, and the day-

to-day activities on the boat that makes everything run as smoothly as we hope it will.

As this is my first time participating in this kind of research, and even my first time on a boat for more

than a few hours at a time, the events to unfold this week will be just as much of a surprise and learning experience for me as it will be for you. Join me as we make this journey together, unravelling the mysteries of our great oceans!

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