Today’s Polar Profile will focus on Chrissy Hernandez, a PhD candidate with the MIT/WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography. Chrissy works with Dr. Joel Llopiz in his lab at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). She attended Columbia University's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences earning her undergraduate degree in Earth and Environmental Engineering. She lives and works in Woods Hole Massachusetts.
On this research cruise Chrissy will be working with a team to deploy, recover, and process fish samples that are taken with the mid-water trawl net. “We expect that the majority of the fish we catch will be Arctic cod, Boreogadus saida. In addition to measuring the length and weight of the fish and some organs, we'll also sample their stomachs to analyze what the fish have been eating and sample muscle tissue to test for stable isotopes and RNA/DNA ratios." They will also collect the fish otoliths which are small calcium carbonate structures found in the inner ears of fish. Fun fact: Scientists can examine fish otoliths to determine the age of the fish in a similar way that the rings of a tree can help determine the age of a tree!
Getting To Know You!
Chrissy is professionally most excited to learn more about fish dissection. She says that the most essential things she’s brought with her on the ship that relate to her research, are her scalpels and the mid-water trawl net!
Personally she’s excited to be working with so many people that she knows already. Most of the fieldwork that she’s done over the past few years have been on trips where she knew only one other person before arriving. In addition to already knowing many of the other researchers on this trip, she is very excited to have Dr. Carin Ashjian as the Chief Scientist onboard ship and psyched to get to hang out with her advisor, Joel, and her lab partner Justin, for almost a whole month! The most essential thing she’s brought on the ship that not related to her research is her Kindle and protein powder.
When I asked Chrissy what she thought she wanted to be, when she was in elementary and middle school, she responded that she imagined she’d go into hotel or restaurant management. To find out how she decided to go into this field just watch the video below! Chrissy said she's really happy wither her choice of profession because she finds research fun, she’s had some awesome bossess and she’s good at what she does!
What will you miss most while you’re out at sea?
While at sea she said that she’ll most miss moving into a new house on September first and is a little sad that she will have to wait until October to get to know her new roommates! Her favorite healthy food is hummus or anything else made with chickpeas. Her favorite unhealthy food is definitely fried potatoes, potato-chips, fries, tots, has browns, etc. With plenty of salt and no ketchup! Her favorite past-time is reading. Her favorite book was hard to pick, but she chose “The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet” by Becky Chambers. She said it was so good that she refuses to stop talking about it!
Can you eat more bacon than Dr. Steve Okkonen?
“Bacon is delicious, but I don't eat it (vegetarian).”
"The cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears, or the sea." - Isak Dinesen
Fun or interesting fact that other people might not know about?
I like to make a lot of my own things, and this includes toothpaste, deodorant, and soap!