NERTO Students

Michael Trunkhill

Michael Trunkhill
M.S, Ecology, Graduate

Internship Location: American Samoa

Internship Date: Summer of 2018


Trunkhill fell in love with the ocean growing up on the state of Washington He was an intern at the Environmental Protection Agency where he collected data on possible toxic waste sites along the Columbia River. He plans to pursue a Ph.D. and to continue researching problems and solutions in ecology.

NERTO Research Project Title:

CO2 levels above reef flats in American Samoa

NERTO Project Details :

The project involved conducting air-sea CO2 measurements in pre-selected bays on the island of Tutuila, American Samoa. Using a NOAA research vessel and a headspace equilibrator the student took CO2 samples from water columns in and around coral reef ecosystems and the air above these systems to calculate flux measurements. Using an YSI sonde the student took pH, salinity, and dissolved oxygen measurements. The student also assisted NOAA biologist Mareike Sudek in estimating coral reef health in these same bays.

NERTO Outcomes:

I was able to gain experience in several aspects of research but more than anything I have gained invaluable research experience in performing benthic survey's.

Value of NERTO to the Line Office:

The National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa (NMSAS) supports a variety of corals, invertebrates, fish, turtles, marine mammals, and marine plants, as well as hydrothermal cent and deep-water habitat. This project provided the National Ocean Service and NMSAS with a health assessment of the coral reef habitat.

NERTO Skills:

all computer programming and data analysis I used I had already had experience with before my NERTO