Melinda Fowler, Jamestown High School Class of 1999, is a fifth year marine biology doctoral student at the University of California, Santa Cruz, whose thesis work is on the physiology of lactation and lipid mobilization in fasting elephant seals. She has also been very involved with the satellite tagging of elephant seals, to further understand their migration and foraging.
Recently, Fowler was afforded the opportunity to go to Antarctica as part of a project looking at the diving physiology of emperor penguins.
"I had never even done a project on birds before," Fowler said. "All my field experience had been with seals. However, I had worked with one of the penguin researchers on a different seal project when she lived in Santa Cruz and stayed in touch. When they had an opening on their team, she knew I worked well with animals and in remote field situations, so she and the other researchers invited me. I was lucky enough to be able to take a few months off of writing my thesis to take advantage of this opportunity."
For more of this story check out the Jan. 25 issue of the California Democrat.