URSA Engage Program 2013
Position Descriptions for Students to Apply For


Faculty Name & Department/School: Dr. Virginia Weis: Department of Zoology



Research Project Title:  Investigating Reproductive Physiology of Sea Anemones


Project Overview: 
Corals and sea anemones reproduce in synchronicity timed to environmental cues. One extraordinary example is the reef wide mass spawning of corals in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Understanding the timing and causes of this reproductive event is currently an exciting topic in marine biology. To investigate patterns of reproductive timing this project aims to trigger spawning in Aiptasia sea anemones, model organism of corals, in the laboratory using artificial moon lighting. The reproductive output and timing of release will be quantified over monthly reproductive cycles to determine patterns in spawning for further investigations in reproductive physiology.



What skills will students obtain in this project? 

Students will learn basic methods in quantifying reproductive physiology and marine animal husbandry. Skills in basic light microscopy and organizing quantitative data using excel will be gained. Furthermore, this project has the potential to have an additional  molecular biology component where students will learn RNA extraction techniques.


Student research tasks: 

The student will observe and quantify reproduction in spawning sea anemones. The reproductive output will be measured by counting the number of eggs and sperm released during a monthly reproductive cycle. Students are expected to record observations, reproductive output, and timing of release in an organized manner.


Period of work - Spring and Fall


Number of hours per week expected of student:    5 


Preferred Faculty Contact Information: weisv@science.oregonstate.edu

(note - applications are NOT sent to mentors - see instructions)


q Yes    x No:   Human Subjects 

q Yes    xNo:   Live Vertebrate Animals

q Yes    x  No:   Recombinant DNA Molecules Transgenic Plants or Animal, and/or Infectious Agents of Plants, Animals, or Humans

q Yes    x  No:   Ionizing Radiation

q Yes    x  No:   Chemical Carcinogens

q Yes    x  No:   Scuba Diving, Free Diving

q Yes    x  No:   Small Boating Operations


If you are interested in applying for this position, you MUST complete the student application HERE and email it to Dr. Kevin Ahern at ahernk@onid.orst.edu

Do NOT email your application to the faculty mentor.