University of South Florida

USF College of Marine Science


Six CMS students awarded the 2024 SAML student award

Student Macarena Martin Mayor working on spectrophotometric techniques in the Byrne lab.

IMAGE ABOVE. Student Macarena Martin Mayor working on spectrophotometric techniques in the Byrne lab.

Six students from the USF College of Marine Science are recipients of the SAML Student Awards for 2024.

Written by: Jess Van Vaerenbergh, USF CMS graduate student

Six students at the USF College of Marine Science recently received the 2024 Southern Association of Marine Laboratories (SAML) Student Awards, which provides support for students to attend a conference or conduct research in 2024.

The six CMS recipients are Sarah Bartoloni, Macarena Martin Mayor, Caitlyn Parente, Rebecca Scott, Sarah Sullivan, and Jill Thompson-Grim. Among the schools competing for the award, CMS had the most students who received the honor. 

Sarah Bartoloni’s research will predict pH at in-situ temperature – temperature measured in the field — for aquatic environments. pH is a crucial parameter in understanding marine CO2 systems. Bartoloni aims to provide a new model to predict pH at different temperatures and address discrepancies in existing models. 

Macarena Martin Mayor is researching the bicarbonate dissociation constant (K2) using spectrophotometric techniques. She uses a spectrophotometer, an instrument used to measure how much light is absorbed when a pH-sensitive dye is added to seawater. Like pH, K2 is an important factor for CO2 system calculations in seawater. Accurate K2 measurements help scientists make reliable assessments of ocean acidification amid increasing CO2 emissions.

Martin Mayor will attend the 2024 Ocean Sciences Meeting in New Orleans to present her preliminary findings from the first chapter of her dissertation. 

“Being able to discuss my results with experts in the field will elevate my research, since their feedback will be crucial to my future publication,” Martin Mayor said. “I am beyond excited to share with the oceanography community my project and to learn from others during this meeting.” 

Caitlyn Parente researches nickel in a chemically reactive form (also known as labile nickel) in the waters of the North Atlantic. She will also give a presentation at the Ocean Science Meeting in New Orleans. 

Student Caitlyn Parente working in the Buck Lab.

Student Caitlyn Parente working in the Buck Lab.

“This conference is an incredible opportunity to showcase my research and learn from scientists in my field,” Parente said. “I'm excited to share my findings with the greater scientific community, and I'm grateful for SAML's support!” 

Rebecca Scott will study fish that live in the mesopelagic zone, just beyond the reach of sunlight, between 200 to 1000 meters below the sea surface. Her research will analyze changes in their position in the food chain to shed light on the structure and function of open ocean ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico. 

Sarah Sullivan will study Sargassum in the Florida Keys and its impact on water quality through remote sensing.

Jill Thompson-Grim will analyze climate-driven changes on the distributions, communities, and populations of reef fish in climate-vulnerable regions of the Gulf of Mexico.

SAML encompasses marine laboratories throughout the southern United States, Bermuda, Panama, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, providing a place to promote cooperation and unity among members. The partnership allows members to solve problems and promote the importance of marine research and education. 

Congratulations to all the winners from USF CMS! 

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