Valeria Schmidt ’19


Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Project Title

Studies on the Ecophysiology of Tropical Corals

I interned at BIOS for two summers, 12 weeks each time. For summer 2017, I worked more independently on a project that focused on the physiological changes corals undergo after repeat exposures to thermal stress. I looked at rapid-acclimatization systems in corals, and whether the underlying mechanisms were epigenetic and what this meant for the future of the species. I chose the methods and collected all data. Most of my time was spent doing fieldwork, including diving to conduct fish surveys and to collect coral, conducting transects, filming underwater, water sampling, and maintaining coral tanks. I presented my research three times to BIOS staff members and interns, which tested my ability to deliver information. I explored Bermuda and learned about local culture. Working at BIOS was challenging — I had never done the work I did there. I came away with an enormous amount of knowledge and an exciting new passion. I will always be grateful for this experience.

* This internship is connected to the PEI Water and the Environment Grand Challenges project, “Coral Nitrogen Isotopes as a Recorder of Natural and Human-Driven Changes in the Nutrient Conditions of Oceanic Surface Waters.

Internship Year


Project Category

Climate and Oceans


Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS), Bermuda


Samantha de Putron, Associate Scientist, Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences