After falling in love with the eastern part of the continent one year earlier, I was quick to continue my exploration Africa. I was awarded a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates. Myself and three other students then traveled together to Ghana, where we were matched with faculty members at the University of Cape Coast, and quickly began to develop our research projects. We would have six weeks to collect data, analyze it, and present results.
I was paired with Dr. Kobina Yankson, an aquatic and estuarine ecologist with years of experience conducting research in the area. Dr. Yankson and I developed a project focused on the zonation of marine life found in a rocky section of beach down the coast from the university. I began collecting data using quadrants at different tidal cycles, preserving seaweed samples and bringing them back for the separation and identification of any contained epifauna.
What I found was the different species of seaweed harbor different communities of epifauna, and that these communities change according to the height of the shore above the low tide mark. My research was submitted and accepted for publication by the undergraduate research journal, “Journal of Young Investigators”. Thus, my scientific career began.