Adrian Tasistro-Hart, 2017, Geosciences

Ray Bartolucci and I worked for two months as field assistants to a PhD student, Akshay Mehra, in Namibia. Our work focused on finding and mapping 540-million-year-old reefs in which one of the first bio-mineralizing organisms, Cloudina, is present in large quantities. Whenever we encountered a reef, we studied its overall shape as well as the morphologies of the structures within it. We also sampled the best-preserved specimens of Cloudina, which we will process here at Princeton. Finally, we used a drone to take hundreds of high-resolution aerial images, which we are now compositing into 3D models of the terrain, in the hopes that we can compute spatial statistics on the regions that we mapped and sampled from. Through this internship I learned a lot about the scientific process and effective data collection. We developed the ability to constantly question our observations as we honed our observational skills, and we also learned how to adapt to our new ideas to collect data that was meaningful. My first experience with fieldwork during this internship helped solidify my intention to major in Geosciences, and I definitely want to continue fieldwork for my own independent work.