Jaci Saunders


 B.S. Biological Sciences, B.A. Political Science. University of Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh, PA (2007).

M.S. and Ph.D. Oceanography. University of Washington. Seattle, WA (2009-present).

 Work Experience:

  •  National Science Foundation – Research Experience for Undergraduates, Kalisz Lab, Evolutionary & Population Plant Genetics. University of  Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh, PA (2007).
  •  The Student Conservation Association-National Parks Internship Program:

o   Environmental Policy Intern – Former U.S. Representative Christopher Shays (CT-04) Washington, D.C. (1/2008-4/2008).

o   Department of Interior, External Affairs Office Intern. Washington, D.C. (5/2008).

o   Padre Island National Seashore, Science & Natural Resources Management Americorps Intern. Corpus Christi, TX (6/2008-9/2008).

  •  Smithsonian Environmental Research Center Internship. Edgewater, MD.

o   Plant Ecology Lab – Developed enzyme assays to study effects of invasive earthworms on soil microbial communities in temperate forests (9-12/2008).

o   Protistan Ecology Lab – Studied infections of the toxigenic dinoflagellate Alexandrium tamarense by the parasitic dinoflagellate Amoebophrya sp. (1-4/2009).

  •  Natural Resources Seasonal Ranger, National Mall & Memorial Parks, National Park Service. Washington, D.C. (6-8/2009).

 Research Interests:

            I am interested in how the marine cyanobacterium Prochlorococcus responds to dynamically shifting nutrient concentrations in the environment. Prochlorococcus is the smallest known oxygen-evolving photoautotroph. However, the smallest photoautotroph is also the most abundant photosynthetic organism on the planet and has been reported to account for 13-48% of gross primary productivity in nutrient-poor oligotrophic oceans. Oligotrophic oceans may experience climate change related increases in nitrogen fixation and subsequent phosphorous limitation; Prochlorococcus likely has a competitive advantage over larger eukaryotic phytoplankton in these phosphorous limited regions which enables them to be the dominant primary producer. My research focuses on how changing nutrient conditions impact Prochlorococcus, and how the response by Prochlorococcus may impact global biogeochemical cycling.

  My graduate studies are funded in part through the receipt of a 2010 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. I also remain actively engaged with the Student Conservation Association as an Alumni Council Representative www.thesca.org

 For research and school related information, please send me an e-mail at jaclynk at uw.edu

 For questions regarding my involvement with the Student Conservation Association you can reach me at jaclynsaunders at thesca.org