Bottlenose dolphins "run" in the Gulf. These waters, southwest of Tallahassee, are one of the last pristine areas left in America where marine animals can be observed in their natural habitat. Their nicked, notched, or scarred dorsal fins enable Reny Tyson to identify them individually. Since she began assisting Dr. Douglas Nowacek and his research team several years ago, she has catalogued over 200.
Because the physics and chemistry of the ocean have important effects on organisms, Biological Oceanographers study its ecology and attempt to understand the activities and distributions of marine organisms, from viruses to whales. They collect environmental and behavioral data on the animals they see. As an intern with the Women in Math, Science and Engineering Program and as a research assistant in the Biological Oceanography Lab, Reny has collected data on dolphins, data that may be used as a comparison to more developed areas and to these waters in the future, "because this area will almost certainly develop."
Last summer, in Canada's Bay of Fundy, Reny joined researchers who were measuring North Atlantic right whales' responses to controlled sound exposure and to that of passing ships.
Her research formed the basis of her Honors thesis, "Investigation of the Presence and Potential Functions of Nonlinearities in Cetacean Vocalizations," portions of which she presented at the Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals in San Diego, and the National Conference for Undergraduate Research in Asheville.
As an undergraduate, Reny appeared on the President's and Dean's Lists numerous times, was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, Golden Key International Honour Society, and Phi Eta Sigma, and received the Women in Math, Science and Engineering Academic Achievement Award each year of her studies. She graduated summa cum laude in April.
But Reny gives a lot of credit for her accomplishments to Professor Nowacek and his research team. "I work with an amazing group of people."[Close Button]