Fran Janny - Student Spotlight

Chemical Oceanography

I was extremely impressed by the people involved in oceanography at the UW

Why did you choose to become an Oceanography major?

I enjoyed how interdisciplinary the major was, in which the chemistry, biology and physics, and are deeply connected in most discussions of oceanography. This complemented my broad interest in most of the scientific disciplines. The ocean is such an integral component of the global climate system. Interested in climate change research, I liked the idea of approaching it from studies of ocean processes. I was also extremely impressed by the people involved in oceanography at the UW; I have yet to take an ocean course not instructed by an exceptional professor. Finally, I have simply had a life-long appreciation for the ocean and the spectacularly diverse life which it contains, the idea of majoring in the study of the ocean just made sense.

Have you participated in field work?

I've been on two field expeditions. The first was the 2008 summer student cruise led by [Chemical Oceanography Professors] Paul Quay and Steve Emerson. The research effort as a whole was to study a pCO2 minimum observed at the front between the subarctic and subtropical water regimes in the northeastern Pacific. For my individual study, I collected surface surface samples for measurement of oxygen isotope ratios. I used the triple isotope method to then estimate gross primary production and observe trends across the front. This 2009 summer I traveled with [Chemical Oceanography Associate Professor] Julian Sachs to the Republic of the Marshall Islands to conduct fieldwork for his studies of tropical paleoclimate. We collected cores of brackish lake and mangrove swamp sediment on a number of different coral islands; the cores will be dated and lipid biomarkers will be extracted. Hydrogen isotope analysis of the lipid extracts will be used to determine rainfall patterns through the late holocene, and hopefully support hypotheses concerning the southward migration of the ITCZ during the Little Ice Age. I worked with Julian's field team to collect these sediment samples, and I also took samples of my own for my independent senior thesis project, in which I will characterize the properties of the unusual brackish pond located on remote Lib Island.

What are your plans for this year?

This next year, I plan to finish up my thesis work in the fall and complete graduation requirements by the end of spring quarter.

What are you planning to do after graduation?

Following graduation, I will take some time off of school to travel/work/volunteer, in other words do something interesting before applying to graduate school. After this summer's field expedition, I could definitely see myself pursuing a graduate degree in some aspect of paleoclimate, but I am still undecided.

I was extremely impressed by the people involved in oceanography at the UW