REU Success Story: Harrison Mancke

Harrison Mancke at FIU McNair Scholars conference

Inspired by marine biologist Sylvia Earle to explore the earth’s oceans, marine biology student Harrison Mancke dove into research at Florida International University’s Coastal Ecosystems REU Site in the summer of 2019.

Mancke worked with Drs. Todd Crowl and Jone Corrales, along with student mentor Rose Santana at FIU’s Aquatic Ecology and Ecotoxicology Lab. Her research focused on copper contamination on the sailfin molly fish. Pesticides and fertilizers, among other structural components, contribute to the increased amount of copper observed in waterways, leading to a larger contamination problem for species living in these impacted ecosystems.

Mancke presented at the final REU Student Research Symposium and gave another oral and poster presentation at the FIU McNair Scholars Research Conference in October of 2019.

Today, Mancke is working part-time at the Ecotoxicology Lab, where she is focusing her research on how slough crayfish and Florida crayfish respond to temperature behaviorally and metabolically. These crayfish provide important nutrition for our native wetland birds and they cannot sustain life with rising waters and heating temperatures. This can cause an imbalance in the Everglades’ ecosystem. Mancke’s research will provide a better understanding of the consequences that may happen if these crayfish die off.

After graduating with her bachelor’s degree, Mancke will pursue graduate school to expand her knowledge of the physiological side of her marine research. She aspires to build a career contributing to the improvement of scientific communication by developing conservation plans and outreach methods.