Jaehee Chun, a Year 13 student at Bethlehem College, Tauranga, has been selected as one of 100 youth from around the world to attend the Barcelona International Youth Science Challenge in July and will be working on the research project ‘Uncovering the hidden diversity of our oceans’.
This research will involve describing and analysing a recently discovered marine organism belonging to the clade of Ichthyosporeans from the Arctic Ocean, dubbed AB19, which the institute believes has the potential to become a new species.
Jaehee will spend time in the laboratory over a period of two weeks with her team (eight other like-minded students from around the world). For their research, the team will be using techniques that are not available in a school laboratory setting, such as in-vivo imaging, fluorescence microscopy, genome sequencing, and computational biology.
“This will be a fantastic opportunity to broaden my knowledge on not only the biodiversity of our ocean systems but the real diversity, as well as the origin of life on Earth,” Jaehee says.
Jaehee is an enthusiastic member of the school’s environment council, being involved in activities such as Habitat for Humanity, tree planting at local reserves, fundraising and holding events at school to increase the awareness of important environmental issues. She is also a volunteer at the House of Science, Tauranga.
Seventy per cent of Jaehee’s travel and registration costs are funded by the Talented School Students Travel Award, managed by Royal Society Te Apārangi and funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.