Meet a Pitzer Student: Emma Saso ’19

Emma Saso ’19, a biology major, talks about her time as a student at Pitzer, her work in marine science labs at Keck Science and Harvey Mudd College, and her research of deep sea corals and coral genetics.


I think it’s amazing that we know more about the solar system than we do the deep sea. I’ve been really interested in this research because I have so many questions about the ocean and about the deep sea and I guess I’m just really motivated by those questions that can be answered. My name is Emma Saso, and I’m part of the Pitzer Class of 2019 and I’m studying biology. I was interested in environmental science; that’s kind of what drew me to Pitzer in the first place. I started researching at Keck with a couple professors in some marine science labs and then I started working in the lab at Harvey Mudd College. And in that lab, I have been working ever since, doing work on coral phylogeny and coral genetics. I had the opportunity to go on a research cruise in the Gulf of Mexico and that was part of a project that is studying the distribution of deep water corals along different ecological gradients. It was a really neat experience; I was able to go on a boat with eight other researchers and an ROV team, a remotely-operated vehicle team, for a week. And what that looked like was, we were launching the ROV in the morning to take pictures, record video, collect samples of corals, which we will then bring up to the surface and use for genetic studies in the lab. I would say that it’s really important to study these coral communities because it’s opening our eyes to what lies at the bottom of the ocean. Gathering this data identifying these communities that are in habitats that are overlapping where oil drilling is happening, we’ll be able to use that information to mitigate the effects of drilling in those areas. My name is Emma Saso and I’m a Pitzer student.

About Pitzer College

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