Tiffany Cheung ’15


Molecular Biology

Project Title

Effect of High CO2 on Photosynthesis and Growth in Marine Phytoplankton

Regardless of the cause of global warming, the related increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide is not only affecting land life but also marine life, via alterations in the carbonate chemistry of seawater. This summer I conducted research at Princeton in a geoscience lab led by Francois Morel, studying the effects of high carbon dioxide on photosynthesis and growth in marine phytoplankton. I grew the diatom, Thalassiosira weissflogii, in artificial seawater at various carbon dioxide conditions and studied its effect on the physiology of this diatom. I harvested the samples prior to nutrient repletion and used spectrophotometry, western blotting, and radioactive carbon-14 to quantify various proteins and its activities. The data I obtained so far calls for further research; and I will continue my project this year. As a prospective molecular biology major, my internship with the Morel lab gave me the incredible opportunity to work alongside graduate students and postdoctoral research associates, allowing me to gain insights into scientific research. In addition to incorporating what I have learned in my general science classes into my own research, I learned how to successfully plan, execute, and analyze a scientific research project on my own.

Internship Year


Project Category

Climate and Energy


Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey


François Morel, Professor, Geosciences; Jodi Young, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Geosciences; Xan Yu, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Geosciences