Alanna Lecher, professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, recently presented research at the Ocean Sciences Meeting in Portland, Ore. Lecher shared her findings on plastics delineated on Florida beaches and offered methods to integrate podcasts into undergraduate classrooms.
Since graduate school, Lecher has attended this conference, which gathers around 4,000 scientists for six days to discuss their findings and research. This year, Lecher had the opportunity to present her studies after submitting an abstract of her work, which they found valid and acceptable to present at the conference. Her research was made possible through the funding of the College of Arts and Sciences.
“For me, attending this conference was important since I am just starting to study marine plastics,” said Lecher. “Most of my previous work was on chemical oceanography.”
Lecher explained how small pieces of plastic can accumulate into convergence zones in the ocean. She hypothesized that due to the convergence zone found on Florida’s atlantic coast, it would have more plastic than the Gulf Coast where there are no convergence zones.
With the help of her undergraduate research interns, Gaylen Martin, Elizabeth Harris and Jayln Johnson, Lecher’s findings supported her hypothesis and more plastic was found on the Atlantic Coast than the Gulf Coast.
“At the conference I met leading researchers in the field and was able to discuss my ideas for my current and future work on marine plastics,” said Lecher. “This one-on-one type of discussion and trouble shooting is hard to get outside of a conference since oceanographers are scattered all over the globe.”
Lecher’s other presentation at the conference discussed how to incorporate podcasts into the classroom and how they can disseminate scientific information to students in a classroom setting.
With this, Lecher encourages her students to explore their passions through science, all while she seeks additional undergraduate interns for her research this upcoming summer and fall.