Humboldt State University

Student Voices: Saskia Raether, Recipient of the 2017 Malcolm Oliphant Scholarship in Marine Science

Saskia Raether received the 2017 Malcolm Oliphant Scholarship in Marine Science  

My name is Saskia Raether and I am a second-year graduate in the biology department studying marine seaweeds in Humboldt Bay. In my undergraduate career, I studied biology and Spanish and developed a passion for conservation biology, and most importantly, botany. When applying for graduate school, I was keenly interested in conservation of prairies in the Midwest but decided to apply to Humboldt State University because of its renowned botany department. My formal training until that point was only in terrestrial plants but I applied to study marine algae, which was a huge leap for me! Nonetheless, as soon as my adviser introduced me to my first seaweed, I knew I wanted to study and learn as much as I could about these plants.

For my thesis, I study the marine algal communities in Humboldt Bay in order to understand their shifts in species diversity and abundance along environmental gradients, such as temperature, salinity, wave exposure, and desiccation.  In order to study these algae, I need to travel to many sites throughout the bay and each site has its own challenges (walking and being stuck in mud or crawling over rocks in the intertidal). I am very grateful for the Malcolm Oliphant Scholarship because it has helped with travel costs as well as with tuition, which has allowed me to focus on my research and classes. I would like to thank the donors of this scholarship for providing me the opportunity to continue my research and afford my education.