My research will look at the early development of sand dollar embryos and how their [naturally] constantly changing environment impacts other critical stages in their life cycle. This is especially important because it was found that these animals exhibit drastic responses to seemingly small environmental changes that have been known to occur naturally in their habitats, yet it has never been documented in the 100 or so years that the development of these animals has been studied.
The Honors Fellowship is making it possible for me to be able to go and study another closely related species of sand dollars [Pacific sand dollars] to help determine if the developmental phenomena perviously discovered by the Allen Lab are unique to the eastern species of sand dollars or if it can occur in other species as well.
Hometown: Falls Church, VA
Future Plans: I hope to complete and defend my Honors Thesis during my final year at the College of William & Mary. After graduating I hope to apply to various post-graduate programs that work with the conservation of marine animals and mammals.
Hobbies: Running, hiking, and biking.
Fun Fact: My first language is Arabic; I was born in and spent my childhood between Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
Follow Salma’s research on the W&M Honors Fellowships blog!