About the 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; click on an author to see their recent posts!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

Ashley MickensAshley Mickens

I recently graduated with a degree in Environmental Earth Science and Sustainability from Miami University of Ohio, and I'm currently working as a marine mammal observer in the Atlantic. While my undergraduate research focused on biogeochemical cycles in lakes and streams, I am excited to pursue an MSc in Marine or Freshwater Ecology and find sustainable solutions as we deal with the effects of climate change. 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.

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.

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.

Carolyn WheelerCarolyn Wheeler

I am currently a PhD student studying marine science at the University of Massachusetts Boston, with my research based at the New England Aquarium. My research interests center around conservation physiology of fishes, particularly sharks, in relation to climate change. I have a passion for scientific outreach and communication with my biggest triumph being my participation in an hour long science-based episode of Shark Week 2016 entitled Tiger Beach. In my spare time I like getting outside hiking, rock climbing, diving, and practicing my yoga headstands.

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).

Channing PrendChanning Prend

I'm a physical oceanography PhD student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California. I use a combination of numerical models, observations, and remote sensing to investigate the role of the ocean in climate. I'm particularly interested in Southern Ocean dynamics, including air-sea-ice interactions and physical controls on biogeochemistry.

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.

Constance SartorConstance Sartor

Constance is a graduate student at the University of Guam studying coral genetics. She also paints murals integrating art and science at various aquariums and scientific institutions (IG: @coco.paints).

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.

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).

Elena GadoutsisElena Gadoutsis

I didn't take the typical marine biologist path. I started my career as a nurse working from intensive care to clinical research to community outreach. But I was always a scientist at heart - spending my time exploring forests, lakes, and traveling to the ocean to indulge my curiosity.

This led me to pursue an MSc in Marine Environmental Management at the University of York, England. Since then, I have worked in conservation science around the world (with a special fondness for algae, coral, and marine mammals) and hope to always remain curious to explore the ocean.

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.

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.

Eric OrensteinEric Orenstein

Eric is a PhD student at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. His research in the Jaffe Laboratory for Underwater Imaging focuses on developing methods to quantitatively label image data coming from the Scripps Plankton Camera System. When not science-ing, Eric can be found surfing, canoeing, or trying to learn how to cook.

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.

Gabrielle StedmanGabrielle Stedman

I am currently a 2nd year PhD student 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.

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.

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 the keyboard.

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.

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.

Katherine BarrettKatherine Barrett

Kate is a 4th year PhD candidate in the Biological Sciences Department at the University of Notre Dame, and holds a Masters in Environmental Science & Biology from SUNY Brockport. She studies the ecology of benthic (bottom) algae in the Great Salt Lake, Utah, in particular how this resource is important to the overall food. Outside of lab and field work, she enjoys running and kickboxing.

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.

Matthew LarsenMatthew Larsen
I am a second year master's student at Coastal Carolina University in the Abel Lab. My interests focus on the ecology and life history of large marine megafauna with a central focus on elasmobranchs. When not working directly on or assisting with research, I try to focus on increasing scientific communication for marine causes. In my free time, I try to be on the water or hidden away reading.
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.

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 @beckusminimus for photos of the awesome nature I see through my work.

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!

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!

Rishya NarayananRishya Narayanan

Rishya is a multimedia science communicator with an MS in Media Advocacy from Northeastern University, specializing in Environmental Science Communications and Policy. She spent a year in informal education and policy advocacy at the New England Aquarium as an Educator and at Save the Harbor/Save the Bay as their Communications and Public Relations Coordinator. She also interned for PBS science series, NOVA and was awarded a 2019 Rapport Public Policy Fellowship, which she served at the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries. Rishya's areas of focus are environmental science, marine science, climate change...and video games!

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 help investigate how these phytoplankton survive.

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.

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.

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.

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!

Theresa BellaTheresa Bella

I graduated from Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco in Fishing Engineering. Currently, I am an intern at University of Hawaii. I am interested in marine megafauna, especially sharks. When I am not collecting data for my research, I like to be in the ocean surfing and scuba diving.

Zak KerriganZak Kerrigan

I am completing my doctorate at the Graduate School of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island where I study the community structure and evolution of deep-sea sediment bacteria. I have also been an adjunct professor at the Community College of Rhode Island for two years. I earned a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Miami and spent 12 years in the US Navy driving submarines before coming back to grad school.

Zoe GentesZoe Gentes

Zoe has an M.S. in Oceanography and a B.S. in Geologic Oceanography from URI, with a minor in Writing and Rhetoric. She was recently a Knauss Marine Policy Fellow in the US House of Representatives, and now work at Consortium for Ocean Leadership. When not writing and editing, Zoe enjoys rowing, rock climbing, skiing, and reading.

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