(blog written by Amanda Florea)
You know what’s rad? Working hand in hand with one of the few radiolarian specialists in the world, Sarah Kachovich. She earned her PhD studying paleontology focused on radiolarians. Everyone on board the JR is an expert in what they do. Her collaboration with the others on the ship helps stitch together a complete story about the history of a core. Being a part of that collaboration and having the chance to learn in this environment is amazing.
Before boarding the JR I knew nothing about paleontology or radiolarians. Two and a half weeks later and I have fallen head first into the micro paleontology world. Working with Sarah, I have learned how to differentiate between many single celled silicates such as “rads” and diatoms. I learned that rads are a very reliable source of dating cores, thanks to their great preservation. I decided to focus my JR Academy research project on these microscopic creatures. During this project I learned to process sediment, prepare slides, as well as what to look for under a microscope. I have been able to find amazing evolutionary lines within certain species of radiolarians. Being able to see the changes as a species evolves is mind blowing to me.
Thanks to my JR Academy experience I found a new love. I am eager to learn more about the micropaleo world and hope to continue my research when I get home. I can’t wait to dive deeper into the radiolarian realm.
If you’re interested in knowing more about the microfossils, check out this activity https://joidesresolution.org/activities/finding-fossils/
For more information about Radiolarians, I would recommend http://radiolaria.org/. Be sure to check out their amazing photos!