Makos in Science: Shuvam Pochi

This past summer, senior Shuvam Pochi gained some hands-on experience in the fields of oceanographic studies and biology during his two research-based internships. One was at the University of Miami Rosentiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, commonly referred to as RSMAS, and the other at the Coral Gables campus of the University of Miami.

Under the guidance of Dr. Christopher Langdon, a professor in the department of Marine Biology and Ecology at the University of Miami, Pochi was assigned with studying the effects of ocean acidification on coral growth caused by greenhouse gases. The corals were able to be measured and tested in a natural environment because of RSMAS’ unique location right on the shore.

At the University of Miami, Pochi studied the alarm calls made by the common gray squirrel as well as the courtship ritual of a species of jumping spider under an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Miami, Dr. Thaddeus McRae.

“I have always found research interesting, as you have the opportunity to observe phenomena which are completely new to science, provide meaningful contributions to the cumulative pool of human knowledge, and possibly help better the world in a major fashion,” Pochi said.

Part of Pochi’s research involved trapping squirrels and tagging them with color-coded earrings. The squirrels were then released back into the wild and monitored with HD cameras. Pochi and his associates would then conduct tests like throwing model birds or sending out a stuffed cat attached to a remote controlled car, and would then observe the distress calls of the squirrels.

The depth and complexity of Pochi’s studies required him to combine his knowledge in the fields of biology, chemistry, and engineering in order to successfully complete them. As far as any obstacles that he faced during his summer internships, Pochi said that “the unpredictability of the work was definitely a challenge. There were so many naturally inconsistent variables in the work it took weeks of fine-tuning to properly run each of the experiments I did.”

“I can see myself working in a STEM field in the future, specifically a field in biomedical engineering,” Pochi said.