Katie McLaughlin ’23

Headshot of Katie McLaughlin

Computer Science

Project Title

Responses of Corals to Temperature Changes That Reflect the Large Seasonal Temperature Range of Bermuda (20-28ºC)

Presentation Link

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I investigated how two coral species common to Bermuda adjust to naturally occurring temperature fluctuations. It is crucial to understand the mechanisms and capacities of physiological adjustment to gain insight into the ability of organisms to cope with climate change. I analyzed data from a temperature-manipulation experiment and identified patterns on thermal adjustments. I wrote Python scripts to extract, perform calculations on, and graph large volumes of data. I then analyzed trends in metabolic rates, the density of Zooxanthellae (photosynthetic symbiotic algae), pigment concentrations, and biomass over a temperature-reduction and acclimatization period. We are finalizing a paper for submission to a peer-reviewed journal that summarizes our questions and findings. This opportunity allowed me to further build my experience with popular tools used by data scientists and other professionals in my major and to learn more about coral biology. My internship also encouraged me to further explore the application of computer science and technology to environmental issues.

Internship Year


Project Category

Biodiversity and Conservation


Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS)


Yvonne Sawall, Assistant Scientist, BIOS