Duke Diary Dispatch: Hello from Panama

A photo of Duke student Nhu Bui and a map of Panama

Among other things, I’ll be evaluating the effect of positive species interactions: in other words, strategically placing species that have a symbiotic relationship with turtlegrass (like clams or sponges) in newly restored grass patches. Experts from the Silliman Lab and other institutes have published on these methods, but I’m excited to pioneer these experiments in a tropical location. I’ll let you all know how it goes!

Whenever I’m not prodding around the beaches of Bocas, I look forward to trying local cuisines, polishing my very rusty Spanish skills, and helping out with the Smithsonian’s science communication and outreach programs in any ways I can. And, of course, getting into as much mischief as I can under the Panamanian sun – because once I’m back at Duke this fall, I’ll be busy straight away analyzing a mountain of data and writing my thesis.

Through Duke’s amazing programs and opportunities, I’ve been able to foster my passion for marine science and conservation. Since freshman year, I’ve worked at the Patek Lab aquarium, I spent last summer at the Duke Marine Lab learning about marine mammals, and I went abroad this past year to Zanzibar, Tanzania to study coastal ecology. But, like most undergraduates, crafting and carrying out an independent study like this will be a first for me. I have no idea what’s in store over the next two months, but I look forward to taking you all with me along the journey.

Until next time! I’ll be writing to you direct from Panama.