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Assistant Professor Kari Taylor-Burt Conducts Summer Field Research in Maine

Katherine Stohlman Pieters, C'19

Kari Burt kayaking in Maine

Over the summer, Assistant Professor of Biology Kari Taylor-Burt, Ph.D., spent time in Walpole, Maine, performing field work as a visiting researcher with the University of Maine’s Darling Marine Center and exploring the New England coast.


kari-taylor-burt-bloodworm-habitat-in-text.jpgTaylor-Burt’s work with the University of Maine continued her collaborative research with the Thompson lab, from Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Together with the Thompson lab members, Taylor-Burt has been studying the muscle structure of bloodworms, or glycera dibranchiata.

“These worms are famous for being excellent saltwater fishing bait, but I’m really excited about their muscles,” shared Taylor-Burt. “Bloodworms, and many other groups of soft-bodied invertebrates, have muscles that are ‘obliquely striated,’ meaning they have a different protein arrangement than vertebrates, including humans. img20230729094322.jpgWe don’t yet understand how these structural differences affect muscle function, so my lab is focusing on describing bloodworm behaviors, muscle function, and the tissue properties of these muscles.”

The five weeks she spent as a visiting researcher in Walpole afforded her the opportunity to study bloodworms in their native habitat and explore that habitat with her family.

The Darling Marine Center is a marine field station situated on the coast, featuring flowing water laboratories and research boating vessels. Taylor-Burt spent time in and around the campus’ intertidal mudflats that the bloodworms call home. She and her family also enjoyed plenty of hiking and kayaking along the Maine coast.

Her summer research was supported by the National Science Foundation, as well as professional development funds from the Mount.

Katherine Stohlman Pieters, C'19