New Student Welcome

Reporting by Helen Hill for the MIT Darwin Project

The Darwin Project is thrilled to welcome two brilliant new MIT-WHOI Joint Program graduate students to its ranks this fall.

Alexandra (Lexi) Jones graduated in 2018 from Temple University where she received her bachelor’s degree in Mathematics, minoring in Physics and Business.

Lexi joins the  Biological Oceanography program within the MIT-WHOI Joint Program with primary advisor Mick Follows at MIT, WHOI advisors t.b.d.

Broadly interested in the ocean’s relationship with climate, and how phytoplankton respond to a changing ocean Lexi is planning to pursue research combining information from the Darwin model, satellite remote sensing, and flow cytometry to study phytoplankton ecology and primary productivity.

“I fell into oceanography when I participated in NASA’s Student Airborne Research Program, a field that combines my enthusiasms toward problem-solving, computer programming, Earth science, and exploration of the unknown,” she says. “Mick’s group was attractive to me because they tackle ocean and climate questions with computation and exciting tools such as the Darwin phytoplankton model and satellites. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with such a well-connected and collaborative group.”

In her spare time, Lexi says she enjoys staying active and being in nature. Hobbies include playing board games, art (painting/drawing), string bracelet making, reading, listening to podcasts, and science communication.

Arianna Krinos just graduated from Virginia Tech with majors in Computer Science, Biological Sciences, and Computational Modeling and Data Analytics, with a minor in math.

With a view to blending models, bioinformatics, and experiments to better understand eukaryotic phytoplankton (and in particular their blooms), Arianna will be co-advised by Harriet Alexander at WHOI and Mick Follows at MIT as part of the Biological Oceanography program within the MIT-WHOI Joint Program. After a summer spent working with single-cell sequencing, metatranscriptomics, and some Emiliania huxleyi and Thalassiosira pseudonana culture experiments down at WHOI she is now beginning to flesh out a modeling project for the fall with E. hux. and models of calcification with Mick for the fall.

Arianna says she is excited for the opportunity to work with both Mick and Harriet because of her experience and interest in both bioinformatics and models. ”I was drawn to Mick’s group early in undergraduate due to my interests in computing, biological/environmental systems, and specifically algal blooms,” she says. “I have wanted to study aquatic systems for some time (I grew up in Tampa, Florida and was greatly influenced by both my backyard and the Florida Aquarium), and did research in freshwater systems during undergraduate, where I refined my interest in algal blooms (which stemmed from a broader interest in water quality, environmental contaminants, and climate in high school).”

A keen kayaker, Arianna counts scrapbooking, swimming, cooking, crafting, visiting the beach, and writing among her away-from-the-lab pursuits.

Story Image: Lexi Jones (left) and Arianna Krinos