Flagler student Daphne Pariser presented her scientific research at the “State of the Reserve” conference held at Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve; marking the first year that Flagler College faculty and students were invited to present their research findings.
Historic City News learned that Pariser got involved in the project with Dr. Terri Seron, associate professor of environmental science, because of her interest in molecular biology.
“I wanted to become more educated in terms of molecular research,” Pariser told reporters. “Dr. Seron wanted to work on it for a few years, so it was a good opportunity for both of us to work together.”
The research team evaluated protein expression in fish and crabs regarding stress levels. Pariser and Seron have been working on this research since the fall semester and were able to conclude that fish are highly adaptive to their estuarine habitats.
As a psychology major and environmental science minor, Pariser has studied stress patterns and development in depth for some time. Last summer, she was lucky enough to work at New York University under Liz Phelps, one of the leading neuroscientists in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder research.
Pariser said she was excited to be given the opportunity to speak about her findings and development at the conference.
“Everyone was really receptive and seemed pleased with the information,” she said. “In the future, we hope to better document what sort of stress proteins are present in blue crabs.”
During this semester, Pariser and Seron will introduce American alligators to blue crabs in order to view stress proteins due to predation stress. They will team up with James Nifong from the University of Florida to conduct this extensive research with the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve.
After graduation, Pariser hopes to work in a toxicology or molecular biology lab in Sweden until she enrolls in graduate school.
“To me, nothing really makes sense without science,” she said. “The more I question the world, the more I find scientific explanations. It’s like cogs and gears.”