Our authors

Current Oceanbites Authors

Oceanbites is made possible by passionate marine science graduate students and post-grads from around the world who are dedicated to making scientific research accessible to broad audiences. Scroll down to learn more about the team and click on an author to see their recent posts!

avatar for Amanda SemlerAmanda Semler

I'm a PhD candidate in Earth System Science at Stanford University, and I study how microbes in deep ocean sediments produce and consume greenhouse gases. I'm a native of the landlocked state of Minnesota, so I've always been fascinated by the ocean. When I'm not in the lab, I love to race triathlons, forward “The Onion” articles to friends and family, and hike with my hound dog Banjo.

avatar for Anastasia YandulskayaAnastasia Yandulskaya

I am a PhD candidate at Northeastern University in Boston. I study regeneration of the nervous system in water salamanders called axolotls. In my free time, I like to read science fiction, bake, go on walks around Boston, and dig up cool science articles.

avatar for Andrea SchlunkAndrea Schlunk

I am a former PhD student from the University of Rhode Island, having discovered my love of teaching and informal science education in part through OceanBites! Since departing academia, I've focused on creating educational content for visitors at the New England Aquarium, Chincoteague Bay Field Station, and now the National Aquarium. I've also dabbled in co-creating a comedy/brainstorming podcast, ThunkTink, and enjoy getting lost in nature with my dogs.

avatar for Anna RobuckAnna Robuck

I am a third year PhD student at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography in the Lohmann Lab. My current research interests include environmental chemistry, water quality, as well as coastal and seabird ecology. When not in the lab, I enjoy diving, surfing, and hanging out with my dog Gypsy.

avatar for Anne M. HartwellAnne M. Hartwell

Hello, welcome to Oceanbites! My name is Annie, I'm a marine research scientist who has been lucky to have had many roles in my neophyte career, including graduate student, laboratory technician, research associate, and adjunct faculty.  Research topics I've been involved with are paleoceanographic nutrient cycling, lake and marine geochemistry,  biological oceanography, and exploration. My favorite job as a scientist is working in the laboratory and the field because I love interacting with my research!  Some of my favorite field memories are diving 3000-m in ALVIN in 2014, getting to drive Jason while he was on the seafloor in 2017, and learning how to generate high resolution bathymetric maps during a hydrographic field course in 2019!

avatar for Ashley MickensAshley Mickens

I recently graduated with a degree in Environmental Earth Science and Sustainability from Miami University of Ohio, and I recently started my MSc at the University of Victoria. While my undergraduate research focused on biogeochemical cycles in lakes and streams, I am excited to pursue my MSc in the El-Sabaawi Lab and explore how urbanization might impact fisheries. In my free time, I love to travel to somewhere off the beaten path, read fantasy novels, try new recipes, and plan my next trip to the ocean.

avatar for Ashley MarranzinoAshley Marranzino

I received my Master's degree from the University of Rhode Island where I studied the sensory biology of deep-sea fishes. I am fascinated by the amazing animals living in our oceans and love exploring their habitats in any way I can, whether it is by SCUBA diving in coral reefs or using a Remotely Operated Vehicle to see the deepest parts of our oceans.

avatar for Brandy BiggarBrandy Biggar

I am a 2nd year Master's student at the Memorial University of Newfoundland. I am researching the highly invasive species the European green crab, and the impact extreme weather events has on its population abundance and distribution.

avatar for Carrie McDonoughCarrie McDonough

I am the founder of oceanbites, and a postdoctoral fellow in the Higgins Lab at Colorado School of Mines, where I study poly- and perfluorinated chemicals. I got my Ph.D. in the Lohmann Lab at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography, where my research focused on how toxic chemicals like flame retardants end up in our lakes and oceans. Before graduate school, I earned a B.Sc. in chemistry from MIT and spent two years in environmental consulting. When I'm not doing chemistry in the lab, I'm doing chemistry at home (brewing beer).

avatar for Cierra BragaCierra Braga

Hello! I'm a PhD student at the Florida Institute of Technology. The lab I work in focuses on ecological engineering along with marine corrosion and biofouling control. I've enjoyed working in the fields of environmental education and outreach. When I'm not working in the lab, I enjoy reading, volleyball, and photography.

avatar for Cindy LebrasseCindy Lebrasse

Born and raised on Mauritius Island in the Indian Ocean, I came to the United States in 2015 as a Fulbright scholar to pursue a Masters degree in Marine Science at North Carolina State University. After completing my Masters degree, I stayed at NC State University where I am currently a 4th year PhD candidate, also working in parallel as an ORISE fellow at the U.S. EPA. My current research focuses on two blue carbon habitats: seagrass meadows and salt marshes. I am applying different methods ranging from satellite remote sensing to water circulation models to fill the current knowledge gaps in the areal extent and carbon storage capacity of these important blue carbon sinks for better monitoring and management of such ecosystems in the face of climate and anthropogenic pressures. When not sciencing, I enjoy my daily yoga routines, taking care of my house plants, watching f.r.i.e.n.d.s for the hundredth time, and nature walks/hikes.

avatar for Daniel SpeerDaniel Speer

Hey! I'm a PhD student at the University of California, Davis studying biophysics. I previously studied organic chemistry (B.S.) at the College of William and Mary. Currently, I investigate the physical responses of lipid membranes to their environmental stimuli and explore the mechanistic potential of the protein reflectin, from D. opalescens, in soft matter systems. Generally, I am interested in how biological systems respond to physical stressors across all size scales, no matter how big or small! I am driven to pursue a career in science communication and outreach, especially in translating research findings into actionable, grassroots reform. Outside of school, I surf the Norcal coastline, play ultimate frisbee, and read.

avatar for Diana FontaineDiana Fontaine

I am a PhD student in the Rynearson Lab studying Biological Oceanography at the Graduate School of Oceanography (URI). Broadly, I am using genetic techniques to study phytoplankton diversity. I am interested in understanding how environmental stressors associated with climate change affect phytoplankton community dynamics and thus, overall ecosystem function. Prior to working in the Rynearson lab, I spent two years as a plankton analyst in the Marine Invasions Lab at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) studying phytoplankton in ballast water of cargo ships and gaining experience with phytoplankton taxonomy and culturing techniques. In my free time I enjoy making my own pottery and hiking in the White Mountains (NH).

avatar for Elena GadoutsisElena Gadoutsis

I have always been happiest in nature - exploring forests, traveling to the ocean, or working with wildlife. After obtaining my MSc in Marine Environmental Management at the University of York, I have worked in conservation and marine science around the world. I have a special affinity for corals, cuttlefish, and cetaceans.

The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever. - Jacques Cousteau

avatar for Ellie OldachEllie Oldach

Hello! I'm a third-year PhD student at University of California, Davis, in the Center for Environmental Policy and Behavior. My research focuses on how coastal communities make decisions around climate change adaptation. I'm lucky to get to explore this question across the West Coast (school!) and the East Coast (home!). When not PhD-ing, I'm happiest when reading, writing, backpacking, or gazing at the sea-- whether that's the Pacific or the Atlantic.

avatar for Emily ChuaEmily Chua

I am a Ph.D. candidate at Boston University where I am developing an underwater instrument to study the coastal ocean.  I have a multi-disciplinary background in physics and oceanography (and some engineering), and my academic interests lie in using novel sensors and deployment platforms to study the ocean.  Outside of my scholarly life, I enjoy keeping active through boxing and running and cycling around Boston.

avatar for Francesca GiammonaFrancesca Giammona

I am a PhD candidate at Wake Forest University, and I received a B.S. in Biology from Cornell University. My research focuses on the terrestrial locomotion of fishes. I am particularly interested in how different fishes move differently on land, and how one fish may move differently in different environments. While I tend to study small amphibious fishes, I've had a lifelong fascination with all ocean animals, and sharks in particular. When not doing science, I enjoy running, attempting to bake and cook, and reading.

avatar for Gabrielle StedmanGabrielle Stedman

I am currently a PhD candidate in Biological Oceanography at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa. I use DNA found in the environment (eDNA), like a forensic scientist, to detect deep-sea animals and where they live. Much of my work will be used to characterize areas of the abyssal seafloor reserved for deep-sea mining (the Clarion-Clipperton Zone). When I am not studying the ocean, I am most likely in the ocean open-water swimming along the beautiful coasts of O‘ahu.

avatar for Grace CasselberryGrace Casselberry

I am currently a Marine Science and Technology Doctoral student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. I use acoustic and satellite telemetry to study the spatial ecology of lemon, nurse, Caribbean reef, and tiger sharks in St. Croix to better understand habitat selection, residency, and connectivity between the protected areas and areas open to fishing. I am broadly interested in the intersection of marine animal movement, particularly elasmobranchs, with fisheries management. In my free time you can find me curled up with a good book and a cup of tea or outside exploring with Deacon, the goofiest Irish setter in Massachusetts.

avatar for Hannah CollinsHannah Collins

I’m a first year PhD student in Oceanography at the University of Connecticut, Avery Point. My current research interests involve microplastics and their effects on marine suspension feeding bivalves, and biological solutions to the issue of microplastics. Prior to grad school I received my B.S in Biology from Gettysburg College, and worked for the U.S Geological Survey before spending two years at a remote salmon hatchery in Alaska. Most of my free time is spent at the gym, fostering cats for a local rescue, and trying to find the best cold brew in southeastern CT.

avatar for Isabel DoveIsabel Dove

I'm a PhD student at URI's Graduate School of Oceanography, researching how the biological carbon pump influences glacial-interglacial cycles. I use diatom assemblages and diatom-bound nitrogen isotopes to study environmental changes over time. When I'm not thinking about diatoms, I am probably either knitting or hiking!

avatar for Jiwoon ParkJiwoon Park

I am a PhD student in chemical oceanography at University of Washington. I am studying how different forms of metals in the ocean are shaping microbial communities in the North Pacific Ocean. When not working, I like going for a walk, visiting farmers' markets and playing keyboard.

avatar for Julia DohnerJulia Dohner

Julia is a PhD student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California. Her focus is on biogeochemistry, which, as the name suggests, centers on the combined effects of biological, geological and chemical processes on the earth system. She is advised by Dr. Ralph Keeling and is modeling the global carbon cycle to better understand how much carbon dioxide ends up in the atmosphere. When not at her computer writing code, Julia can usually be found reading and/or thinking about food.

avatar for Julia ZehJulia Zeh

I am a PhD candidate at Syracuse University studying marine mammal communication. My research focuses on analyzing underwater recordings of whale calls in order to better understand whale behavior. I'm also interested in education, outreach, and science communication. When I'm not listening to whale sounds, you can find me curled up with a good book or complaining about how much it snows in Syracuse.

avatar for Katherine BarrettKatherine Barrett

Kate received her Ph.D. in Aquatic Ecology from the University of Notre Dame and she holds a Masters in Environmental Science & Biology from SUNY Brockport. She currently teaches at a small college in Indiana and is starting out her neophyte research career in aquatic community monitoring. Outside of lab and fieldwork, she enjoys running and kickboxing.

avatar for Kayla MladinichKayla Mladinich

I am a PhD candidate at the University of Connecticut-Avery Point exploring the dynamic interactions of microplastics and suspension feeding invertebrates. Through both field and laboratory work, I am working to understand which kinds of microplastics (different shapes, sizes, compositions) oysters, mussels, tunicates, and slippersnails consume and determine which species can be used to monitor microplastic pollution in our coastal waters. When I am not working on my research, I enjoy hiking with my partner and pup, being near or in the water, and spending time with family and friends.

avatar for Kristin HuizengaKristin Huizenga

I am a PhD student studying Biological Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography. My interests are in food webs, ecology, and the interaction of humans and the ocean, whether that is in the form of fishing, pollution, climate change, or simply how we view the ocean. I am currently researching the decline of cancer crabs and lobsters in the Narragansett Bay.

avatar for Krti TallamKrti Tallam

Krti is interested in the transmission dynamics of environmental diseases as they relate to climate and anthropogenic stressors. As a Fulbright Scholar, Krti conducted analyses on the responses of dengue fever to climatic stressors off the coast of the Bay of Bengal, in India. Currently, Krti works with Stanford University to understand the role of schistosomiasis in environmental reservoirs, and leads the pursuit of a computational-based based analysis of eelgrass wasting disease dynamics. At Stanford, Krti serves as one of the few trans-disciplinary experts for planetary health topics, via machine learning and computer vision, data science, environmental policy, and science communication. As a STEM innovator and a first-generation woman of color, Krti is proud to be a writer for Oceanbites!

avatar for Megan ChenMegan Chen

I'm a past oceanbites writer, occasional editor and guest poster.  I graduated with a Masters of Coastal & Marine Management from the University of Akureyri in Iceland, and am currently working in marine conservation.  In particular, I'm supporting an Indigenous-led initiative to safeguard the largest inland sea in the world (Hudson Bay & James Bay, Canada). I love weird ocean critters and *sigh...I really do enjoy long walks on the beach.

avatar for Nyla HusainNyla Husain

I'm a PhD student at the University of Rhode Island's Graduate School of Oceanography. I use a small-scale computer model to study how physical features like surface waves at the air-sea interface produce friction for the wind that can limit momentum, energy, gas, and heat exchange between the ocean and atmosphere. In the future, I hope to learn more about the role waves play in different parts of the world as weather and climate patterns evolve. Also, I love to write.

avatar for Pablo Brenes CotoPablo Brenes Coto

Hello! I am a science communicator who loves sharing stories about the ocean. In my free time, I enjoy running, spending time outdoors, doing puzzles and sipping on coffee while reading a good book. I am also an educator at the Museum of Science in Boston.

avatar for Rebecca FlynnRebecca Flynn

I am a graduate of the University of Notre Dame (B.S.) and the University of Rhode Island (M.S.). I now work in southwest Florida, contributing to the management of an estuary. I am fascinated by the wonders of nature, the land-sea interface, ecology and human disturbance (and solutions!). On a personal level, I am a chocoholic, love to travel and be outside, and relax by reading or spending time with my emotionally needy dogs!

avatar for R J ParkerR J Parker

Hi! I'm Rebecca Parker. I'm an ecologist and plant lover working in non-profit conservation in Nova Scotia Canada. I trained at Dalhousie and Ryerson University, where I completed a Masters in Environmental Science and Management. I like botany, wetlands, and wetland botany! On the sciencey side, I like to write about current topics in population and community ecology, but I'm also really interested in environmental outreach, how exposure to science and demographics affect environmental values and behaviours, and best practices for building community capacity in environmental stewardship. Check out my instagram for photos of the awesome nature I see through my work.

avatar for Rena KingeryRena Kingery

I am a student of the MA in Science Writing program at Johns Hopkins University. Environmental science, human health, and agriculture are a few of my writing interests. I love communicating science in a way that incorporates storytelling and that broadens readers' ideas of what science is, who scientists are, and what it means to do science. When I'm not writing, I can be found playing folk music with friends, riding my bike, or snuggling with my cat.

avatar for Riley HenningRiley Henning

I am currently a Master’s candidate in Environmental and Ocean Sciences at the University of San Diego, and I study the stickiness of phytoplankton using 3D images. By tracking collisions of phytoplankton, I can see how sticky they are by observing how often they stay together when they collide instead of bouncing off of each other.  When I am not working on my thesis you can find me on the beach, reading a book, or working on a painting!

avatar for Samantha SettaSamantha Setta

I'm a PhD student in the Rynearson Lab at the University of Rhode Island (URI) Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO). My research interests are focused on human impacts on the oceanic ecosystem, particularly effects on the primary producers (phytoplankton) at the base of the food web. Currently, I work with cultures from regions of the ocean that are nutrient limited and will conduct experiments to investigate how these phytoplankton survive.

avatar for Saumya SiloriSaumya Silori

Hi, I am a Ph.D. student at the National Institute of Oceanography, India. I am currently studying the particulate and dissolved organic matter dynamics in the central and eastern Arabian Sea. I am also interested in the effects of climate change on marine systems, as well as outreach and science communication. My interest in science communication stems from the lack of effective scientific outreach in my country and I wish to contribute to improving that.  In my spare time, I like to read non-fiction and learn about things I didn't know existed.

avatar for Shawn WangShawn Wang

I am a PhD student studying climate physics and marine geology at MIT and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. I am interested in using geochemical methods and climate models to study periods of rapid climate change in the past and understanding the ocean's role in our climate system. In my free time I enjoy tennis, boardgames, and recreating my favorite asian foods at home.

avatar for Sierra GarciaSierra Garcia

Sierra is a master's student in Stanford University's Earth Systems department studying science and environmental communication. Her bachelors degree was also in Earth Systems, with an emphasis on oceans and climate, which took her from Australia to South Africa to French Polynesia and Kiribati. She is from Monterey, California.

avatar for Tejashree ModakTejashree Modak

Currently, I am a postdoctoral research fellow in URI.  Broadly, I study response of marine species to various stressors such as disease and environmental factors. My research is heavily computational and involves predominantly bioinformatics research approaches. I love to see biology from the lens of code!

avatar for Theresa BellaTheresa Bella

I graduated from Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco in Fishing Engineering. Currently, I a master's candidate at Hawaii Pacific University. I am very passionate about marine megafauna, especially sharks. When I am not collecting data for my research, I like to be in the ocean surfing and scuba diving.

avatar for Tricia ThibodeauTricia Thibodeau

I am a plankton ecologist focused on the effects of rapid climate change on phytoplankton and zooplankton populations and physiology. The major pillars of my research explore how global climate change (1) has and will impact long-term trends in plankton population dynamics and (2) has affected plankton physiology and feeding ecology.

As a Postdoctoral fellow of the Rhode Island Consortium for Coastal Ecology, Assessment, Innovation, and Modeling (RI-CAIM) I am analyzing the multi-decadal long-term plankton time series in Narragansett Bay. By identifying underlying environmental parameters driving plankton community dynamics my work will facilitate efforts to forecast important ecological phenomena in the region.

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