Jacob Eisenberg, 2016, Chemistry

The goal of my summer internship was to investigate plant respiration, and whether or not it is inhibited in the daytime at high latitudes. There has been previous work that suggests that the rate of respiration, which results in CO2 being released into the atmosphere, is lower in the daytime than the nighttime. It is important to further understand and investigate this phenomena, as the rate of plant respiration has an impact on the overall carbon balance and the quantity of CO2 in the atmosphere. We were fortunate to travel to Abisko, Sweden to observe whether this daytime inhibition would occur in plants that were under 24-hour sunlight in the summer. While there, we were out in the forest every day measuring the gas exchange rates of trees under different light conditions. We found that under these conditions there was no inhibition of respiration. This internship was my first experience with fieldwork and all of its exciting aspects and challenges. Being embedded in a lab group gave me the opportunity to observe and be part of the process of academic research. I’m looking forward to extending this internship and the skills I learned into my independent work in the future.