Allison Matzelle, PhD Student, Helmuth Lab
Allison became fascinated with the undersea world through undergraduate lectures from Brian Helmuth on the Aquarius habitat. Now an NSF graduate dissertation fellowship winner, Allison is a PhD student who is interested in how environments can influence the fitness of animals in the rocky shore habitats. This includes mathematical models that predict the response of rocky shore organisms with different consequences of climate change and how these models can influence necessary steps for policy and decision makers. In Florida, Allison is using her mathematical model to explore how flexible giant barrel sponge are in the face of climate change.
Amanda Dwyer, PhD Student, Patterson Lab
Amanda is interested in research involving climate change, particularly in coral reefs. Her experience with zooplankton comes from various work she did during her undergraduate work at Lawrence University. Amanda’s senior thesis focused on consequences of feeding on toxic algae for the copepod Eurytemora affinis in the Gulf of Finland and Little Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.
Morgan Helmuth, Embedded Teen Reporter
A rising 8th grader, Morgan has been exploring the world’s oceans from a very young age, and despite her age already has considerable experience reporting on her adventures in the form of blogs and online articles in collaboration with her co-author Amanda Padoan. In 2012, Morgan helped to lead a team of teachers and students to the coast of Oregon to study the effects of climate change on marine animals, and while there worked with local weather forecasters to transmit the excitement of science to a broad audience. Morgan will extend her land-based experienced to the underwater world by learning to dive this summer and will be reporting on the science and outreach activities of Mission 31, working with FIU’s Aileen Soto.
Sara Williams, Research Technician, Patterson Lab
Sara is a Research Technician in the Patterson Lab at Northeastern University. She is from Richmond, VA and graduated from the College of William and Mary with an Honors degree in Physics and a minor in Biology in January 2014. Sara grew up exploring the James River with her family, which sparked a desire to learn more about marine environments. Sara started SCUBA diving at the age of 15 and is now an active PADI Dive Master for her local dive shop and an AAUS scientific diver. She has worked in many areas of research during her college education from spending time in a microbiology lab to working with underwater robotics. In the Spring of 2013, she completed her honors thesis work with Dr. Mark Patterson on measuring the mixing time of the coral gastrovascular system. Sara is also working with Dr. Erinn Muller from Mote Marine Lab in Sarasota, FL, on the spatial epidemiology of Caribbean yellow band disease on two species of reef building coral around St. Croix, USVI. As a Research Technician, Sara gets to explore her interests in combining physics and biology to better understand the marine environment by working with marine robots, oxygen and pH micro-sensors used in corals, and by participating in other biomechanics research happening in the Patterson Lab. Sara plans to pursue a PhD in Marine Science with a concentration in marine biomechanics and coral reef ecology.
Francis Choi, Senior Lab Technician, Helmuth Lab
Francis is the Helmuth lab research technician at Northeastern University. He gained his love towards the ocean through stories of Jacques Cousteau, The Blue Planet documentary, and even film parody like the Life Aquatics. He received his graduate degree at the University of British Columbia in biological oceanography and worked at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada as a research scientist. Currently, Francis works with Brian Helmuth to forecast how ecological communities, which include both rocky intertidal and coral reefs, will be modified under climate change regimes.
Jessica Torossian, PhD Student, Helmuth Lab
Jessica’s research interests involve understanding and predicting how ecosystems will respond to climate change. She is interested in how climate change may affect both predator-prey dynamics and reproduction through changes in physiology, and how these local-scale responses translate into metacommunity-level effects. Using interacting species with different life-history traits and dispersal strategies Jessica hopes to investigate how thermal stress and food availability impact reproduction and ultimately population dynamics. The goal of her research is to use these data in a metacommunity-based model to predict how populations and communities will respond to climate change. An improved understanding of how interconnected communities interact may have important implications for both conservation and restoration efforts.
Nicholas Colvard, PhD Student, Helmuth Lab
Nick is currently interested in the physiological response of marine intertidal algae to environmental stressors. He uses a combination of biophysical and physiological tools to describe the energy allocation of Fucus spp. in light of changes in environmental conditions. Nick’s field research explores the physiological responses of Fucus to environmental stressors (i.e., temperature and aerial exposure) through the use of temperature and humidity sensors, pulse amplitude modulation (PAM) fluorometry, and spectral radiometry.