Canadian researcher studies plants of St. Joseph Bay


Canadian research assistant Robyn Zerebecki lives at the St. Joseph Bay Buffer Preserve while studying the Spartina plant.

Special to The Star
Published: Thursday, July 3, 2014 at 09:41 AM.

St. Joseph Bay is far more than just a beautiful photo op.

Research assistant Robyn Zerebecki currently calls the St. Joseph Bay Buffer Preserve Center home, at least she will through August. The Ontario, Canada native has spent the past three summers at the facility conducting six-month long experiments in the salt marshes as she learns more about the Spartina plant, commonly known as cord-grass.

Zerebecki, who received her Master’s degree in Marine Biology from Northeastern University in Boston, is currently in pursuit of a doctorate in zoology from the University of British Columbia where she specializes in marine ecology.

“I’ve always wanted to be a marine biologist,” said Zerebecki. “It’s the perfect split of being outside and being in a lab.”

In addition to Gulf County, Zerebecki has also conducted experiments in Vancouver, Boston and Bodega Bay in California.

“This is a great place to look at the relationships in genetic diversity in dominant plants,” said Zerebecki.

She said that while many of these experiments take place in the salt marshes of New England, a southern location provides similar data and is accessible year round.

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