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Aerial photograph of tidal marsh lands off of Cedar Key, Florida.

Soil and Water Summer Experience – Kendall Breland

The UF/IFAS soil and water sciences department is offering students the chance to blog about their summer experiences. The students enrolled in one of three courses over the summer, for which they received credit: SWS 4905-Individual Work, SWS 4911-Supervised Research in Soil and Water Science, and SWS 4941 Practical Work Experience. This is Kendall Breland’s summer experience:


woman taking water sample in salt marsh

Kendall taking a pore water sample from a control marsh plot. These samples were taken back to the lab where salinity and pH were measured immediately. This data will be used in the WETFEET research conducted by the manager of the lab I worked at this summer. (photo provided)

My name is Kendall Breland and I am majoring in soil and water sciences. This summer, I had the opportunity to work with Dr. Todd Osborne at the Whitney Lab for Marine Bioscience. Dr. Osborne’s research focus is estuarine biogeochemistry.

I ran an experiment on filtration rates of freshwater invertebrates and took water samples for algae counts. I also helped others in the lab with their projects. On field days, I assisted with taking pore water samples in salt marshes. I also took the opportunity to familiarize myself with the lab. Since the summer, I have been working on writing a paper on one of the experiments I conducted.

My summer experience was nothing short of perfect. I used this experience to truly ask myself if this is the path I want to take for my future career and it is. I loved every second of the work I was doing and tried to take in as much information as I could. Also, I learned a plethora of lab techniques and how to use a variety of equipment that I will be utilizing in the future. It also taught me a lot about working with other people and how to function as a team within a lab setting. It was hands-down an amazing experience and one that I hope to have again.

Learning Experience
woman standing in field doing science experiment

Kendall in the salt marsh on the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve (GTM Research Reserve) to collect samples for WETFEET project. Structures nearby are the warming chambers used for this research. (photo provided)

My previous coursework helped prepare me with background knowledge. The information that my classes provided helped me with understanding what the lab equipment did and why it was important. It also helped me understand the preliminary aspects of the experiment I ran.

I found it very interesting that a lab as specific as an estuarine biogeochemistry lab covers such a vast array of topics. Every day was something new and it was an amazing opportunity to experience so many different things. The challenge I encountered was that I had overly high expectations for myself. I thought that over the summer I would be able to write a complete paper that would be ready to publish. However, that takes a lot more time and effort than I realized. I am still working on the paper, but I am very excited to continue to improve it and hopefully publish it. estuarine