Lincoln Rehm, a researcher at the Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC), has recently passed his candidacy exam and is now officially a PhD Candidate at Drexel University, in Pennsylvania, USA.

In order to pass the candidacy exam, Mr. Rehm had to prove to a committee that he was eligible to move forward with a PhD education. The committee consisted of five professors. Mr. Rehm also presented his project proposal to the committee, who gave constructive criticism on his proposal and advice on how to move forward in his project and course of study.

Lincoln chose to focus his PhD project on giant clams, but more specifically he wants to answer the questions: What factors determine clam color? Do the iridocytes have a secondary function, such as a cooling ability? His interest in this topic derives from the fact that despite short distances to each other, clams have distinctly different colors. Thus, Mr. Rehm wonders what specific environmental factor influences the color of the clam. Over the past two years, he has investigated the first question. And for the past three weeks, Lincoln has been in Palau conducting experiments that will answer his second question.

Lincoln will be returning to the United States soon to continue his studies. He is expected to finish his PhD program in two and a half years. (PR)