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From Belize to the Florida Keys


CONWAY, Ark. (July 16, 2013) – Kevin Spatz, a senior biology major from Conway, Ark. is spending his summer as an intern with the Mote Marine Laboratory's Marine Microbiology Program in the Florida Keys.

Spatz began his internship assisting in field work and spends most of his day performing lab work with bacteria cultures.

Currently, he is researching the microbial communities in the mucus of mustard hill coral (Porites astreoides) and sea anemones (Anemonia viridis) to see if the microbe community composition in mustard hill coral changes during spawning.

"For the sea anemones, we're looking to see if the microbial communities are different in sea anemones that are close to a volcanic vent versus other anemones that are further away," he said. "The volcanic vent actually serves as a nice model for climate change and ocean acidification."

Earlier this summer, Spatz traveled to Belize on the field research portion of Hendrix biology professor Dr. Jenn Dearolf's marine biology class. Read more about the class trip to Belize here.

He applied for the internship at Mote in order to explore the field of marine science and the subfields in which he is interested.

"The most eye-opening part of my internship has come from reading articles for background knowledge to understand the projects I'm working on."

After graduation Spatz plans on pursuing a master's degree in marine biology and ultimately a doctorate once he's decided on a subfield.

"This internship has made me realize that an organism and its symbiotic microbes all function as one system called a holobiont," he said. "Now when I look at plants and animals (people included), I see them as entire communities of organisms that form one entity."

Founded in 1876, Hendrix College is a national leader in engaged liberal arts and sciences education. For the fifth consecutive year, Hendrix was named one of the country's "Up and Coming" liberal arts colleges by U.S. News and World Report. Hendrix is featured in the 2012 edition of the Princeton Review as one of the country's best 377 colleges, the latest edition of Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think about Colleges, Forbes magazine's annual list of America's Top 650 Colleges, and the 2013 edition of the Fiske Guide to Colleges. Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. For more information, visit