by Helen Hill for CBIOMES
A warm welcome to Zoe Aarons who recently joined MIT CBIOMES.
Zoe Aarons is a second-year graduate student in Biological Oceanography at the MIT-WHOI Joint Program advised by Mick Follows. She graduated from Bowdoin College in 2019 with a major in Earth and Oceanographic Science and a minor in Computer Science
Aaron’s interests include using numerical models to study phytoplankton ecology and investigate the impacts of climate change on phytoplankton productivity and diversity. Over the past year, she has become particularly intrigued by how numerical models can be used to constrain photosynthesis – especially during periods of high irradiance.
Right now, Aarons says, she is developing a numerical model of the electron transport chain in picophytoplankton in order to investigate the impacts of irradiance and iron concentration on photosynthetic output and damage. Using this model she hopes to explore the mechanisms by which these organisms maintain an operational photosynthetic apparatus during periods of high irradiance and/or iron stress.
Aarons has always been fascinated by the oceans and feels fortunate to have had the opportunity to take an introductory oceanography course during her first year of college. “As an undergraduate, I conducted research in marine biogeochemistry and paleoceanography as well as the tracking of tropical cyclones in climate models which sparked a passion for using computational methods to study the oceans. During my coursework, I became fascinated with understanding how phytoplankton are impacted by climate change, and it was these interests that drew me to the work in Mick Follows’ Group, exploring phytoplankton dynamics at the cellular to community scale and using models and satellite data to answer questions about biology and climate.”
Story image: In her spare time Zoe says she loves to cook and bake as well as read. “I also love hiking and spending time outside, exploring the hiking and swimming areas around Boston and New England!” she says.