Student Research Profile: Mychal Hellie

Mychal spent hours in a canoe studying grebes during his internship with the Audubon Society.

Meet Mychal Hellie, a junior environmental studies major at PUC who plans to continue on after college to get a master’s in ecology. Last summer, Mychal helped Dr. Floyd Hayes study grebes on nearby Clear Lake as part of his internship with the Audubon Society.

Who are you?
I’m Mychal Hellie and I’m an environmental studies major in my junior year. I plan to get my master’s in ecology.

What did you do?
I helped Dr. Hayes study the grebes on Clear Lake. We studied the distribution of nest locations and the grebes behavior on the nests. My job was to help set up the cameras and survey the nesting locations. I also recorded data from the pictures about how much time each parent spends incubating the eggs.

When and where did you do this work?
My internship was with the Audubon Society, doing research on Clear Lake during the summer of 2017.

What did you learn?
There is a lot of work that goes into field research, especially when it involves canoeing at five in the morning, and if you want good data, you need dedication. Studying the grebes out in wild taught me how interesting the natural world around us can be. Going minute by minute through photos of their lives showed me the vast complexity of wildlife and why they are worth studying and preserving.

How did your experience at PUC help prepare you for this experience?
Classes at PUC like Pollution & Environmental Quality helped me understand conditions like eutrophication that affect the ecosystems on Clear Lake.  Ecology and Conservation Biology taught me many field techniques I used in to study and sample the grebe populations.

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