Christina Bonsell, a Ph.D. graduate student, was recently awarded a University of Texas continuing fellowship for the coming academic year. Only 78 graduate students from the university graduate pool of over 11,000 students are awarded this prestigious fellowship. Christina studies marine ecology under faculty supervisor Dr. Ken Dunton. Her research focuses on kelp, and how this important foundation species allows for high productivity and diversity in Arctic environments.
“My research is trying to determine how the kelp, Laminaria solidungula, grows and persists in the Arctic Ocean. I’m looking at how environmental factors, such as temperature and light, affect kelp distribution. My research is also trying to understand how distinct kelp life stages - from microscopic spores to big adults – may respond differently under environmental stress” Bonsell said.
The fellowship will help further her studies and our understanding of how and why kelp creates “biodiversity hotspots” in the Arctic Ocean.