Student Vignettes

Carey Schafer

About my research

Mangrove forests occupy a small area globally yet store a disproportionately large amount of carbon, acting as a natural defense against our ever-increasing carbon dioxide emissions. While the quantity of carbon stored by mangrove forests has been widely established in the scientific literature, there has been less attention paid to the mechanisms governing soil carbon cycling. For my master’s research, I am examining the mechanisms controlling carbon movement and stabilization in mangrove soils. Understanding these processes is vital to know whether mangrove carbon stores will remain stable in the face of rising sea levels and temperatures, and whether they will continue to act as a natural line of defense against climate change. For more on my research and time at CMS, visit my website.


I chose USF CMS because they encourage students to be multi-dimensional. Since being at the college, I have been able to wear many hats – learning and growing as a scientist, communicator, mentor, and educator. CMS not only trains successful scientists, but provides them with the tools to effectively communicate their research to fellow scientists (and those beyond science). In addition, the college’s commitment to outreach ensures science is not done in a vacuum. The opportunities afforded outside the lab not only help students grow as scientists, but prepare them to be more competitive in the job market post-graduation.


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