Principal Investigator: Dr. Jennifer Smith
Jen is a coral reef ecologist with primary expertise in benthic communities (marine plants, corals and other invertebrates). Her primary interests are in determining how various physical and biological processes affect the structure and function of marine communities. Jen has been interested in determining how human impacts affect or alter marine communities. Currently Jen and her students are working on understanding how local stressors such as pollution, overfishing or the introduction of invasive species affect coral reefs. Jen’s lab is also working to determine how global stressors associated with climate change such as warming or ocean acidification will alter reef species. Much of the research in the Smith lab is focused on marine conservation and restoration of degraded habitats and often involves multidisciplinary activities. Jen and her students are actively working to develop effective management strategies for coral reef communities around the world.
Postdoctoral Researcher: Dr. Nichole Price
Nichole recently completed her PhD from the University of California Santa Barbara where her research focused on the interactions between coral larvae and various types of crustose coralline algae. Nichole’s research at SIO now focuses on examining the effects of Ocean Acidification on a number of coral reef organisms to determine how reduced oceanic pH may affect the growth, calcification and abundance of key reef taxa such as reef building corals, coralline algae and a number of invertebrates. Nichole also studies how OA may interact with other stressors such as pollution and overfishing to affect coral reef community structure. Nichole’s current research takes place in the remote central Pacific on uninhabited islands which provide the ideal location to study climate change on coral reefs as they do not experience any sort of confounding disturbances.
PhD Student: Emily Kelly
Emily is a 4th year PhD student at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego. Originally from Bethesda, MD, Emily loves the DC life, especially when thinking about the intersection of science and policy. Now in San Diego and conducting her field work in Maui, Emily’s getting used to the rough life living on the beach and diving on coral reefs. Emily’s research is focused on determining the effects of local pollution and overfishing of reef fish on coral reef communities in the Hawaiian Islands. Emily seeks to identify solutions to reef degradation on the island of Maui where a number of coral reefs have shown significant signs of decline over the last several years. Emily is working with state and federal agencies in the newly established herbivore fisheries management area on Maui where she hopes to determine how herbivore protection may allow for an increase in the abundance of herbivores over time and thus help to reverse the transition from coral to macroalgal dominance on these reefs.
PhD Student: Jill Harris
Jill is interested in how ecological systems respond to and recover from anthropogenic disturbance. She focuses on the coral reefs in the remote central Pacific Ocean, including the protected areas of the new Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument. Jill studies how coral and algae respond to bleaching, disease, pollution, and fishing, and how these responses differ between heavily affected and unimpacted, uninhabited locations. She combines this ecological research with social research to understand the dynamics of the human communities that depend on vulnerable reef ecosystems. Jill’s ultimate goal is to contribute science that improves the management and conservation of coral reefs. Jill grew up in Washington, D.C., completed her undergraduate degree at Dartmouth College, and earned a Master’s of Marine Affairs from the University of Washington. Now she likes to spend as much time as possible on small tropical islands like Eleuthera (in the Caribbean), Cebu (in the Philippines), Maui, and Palmyra (in the central Pacific).
Click here to check out her blog!
PhD Student: Levi Lewis
Mr. Lewis is a second year PhD student and has been interested in conducting research in San Diego to understand how overfishing of coastal fishes affects the structure and function of food webs in shallow seagrass communities. To date Levi has conducted a number of experiments in San Diego Bay and has found striking evidence that small predatory fishes are incredibly important to maintaining a diverse and healthy food web and for promoting seagrass abundance. Levi is interested in pursuing this work further by determining how important seagrass habitats are for providing nursery habitat for commercially important coastal fish species. Mr. Lewis having grown up locally in San Diego is interested in conducting studies to conserve or manage CA’s nearshore marine ecosystems but he is also interested in taking what he has learned from temperate systems and applying this knowledge to tropical systems.
Click here to check out his blog!
PhD Student: Maggie Johnson
Maggie Johnson is originally from Maine, and completed her undergraduate degree in Biology at Colby College. Maggie recently completed a master’s degree in biology at California State University, Northridge where she studied the effects of ocean acidification on tropical crustose coralline algae. Her research interests are in understanding the physiological and ecological implications of climatic stressors for coral reef communities. Maggie’s research will specifically focus on how the changing ocean climate, particularly ocean acidification, influences growth, calcification and ecological interactions of tropical calcified algae. One of the goals of her research is to determine how ecologically important coral reef organisms, such as crustose coralline algae, may be influenced by climate warming and ocean acidification in the coming decades.
PhD Student: Abigail Cannon
Abby Cannon received her B.S. in Environmental Systems: Ecology,
Behavior and Evolution in 2009. Currently she volunteers in the Smith lab, assisting PhD student Levi Lewis with SCUBA research, identifying algae, and processing data. She will be joining the Smith Lab as a PhD student in the Fall of 2013! Her research interests are related to the effects of overfishing on ecosystems such as coral reefs and seagrass beds. When not volunteering at Scripps Abby enjoys surfing, traveling, SCUBA diving, and baking cookies.
BS/MS Student: Clinton Edwards
Clinton received his B.S. in Biology from UCSD in 2008 and is currently working on his Master’ Thesis at SIO. He is currently working to compile a database of worldwide coral reef herbivorous fish biomass/abundance. The aim of the research is to perform a meta analysis of herbivorous fish abundance and biomass estimates and to attempt to elucidate broad geographic trends, with particular reference to variation across gradients of anthropogenic disturbance. A broader understanding of these trends will allow the more effective and accurate setting of management goals.
BS/MS Student/Lab Manager : Amanda Carter
Amanda is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area but completed her B.S. in Biology at UCSD in La Jolla, CA. She is currently apart of the MS program at UCSD where she will complete her graduate research under the mentorship of Jennifer Smith at Scripps Institute of Oceanography focusing on corallimorph invasions in the Pacific Remote Islands. She also works in the Smith Lab and is currently part of the Photogrid team where she analyzes data from NOAA’s CRED expeditions. Her current work focuses on the ecotoxicology and genetics of the corallimorph invasion at Palmyra Atoll and Kingman Reef in the Northern Line Islands. One of the goals of her research is to help provide a better understanding of the effects that shipwrecks can have on iron-limited atolls in the remote Pacific so that better management strategies can be implemented in these relatively pristine ecosystems.
BS/MS Student: Susan Kram
Susan Kram graduated with a B.S. in Biology from UCSD. She is currently working to complete her Master’s Thesis at SIO under the guidance of Jennifer Smith. Her research focuses on competitive interactions of coral reef organisms under varying levels of pH which mimic ocean acidification. She also works as a member of the Photogrid team, analyzing data from Northern Line Island expeditions. Susan is passionate about marine conservation and hopes her work will help researchers understand the potential changes that coral reefs will undergo in the future.
BS/MS Student: Samantha Clements
Sam graduated from UCSD in June 2012 with a B.S. in Biology/ Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution and a minor in Studio Art. She will be completing her M.S. research in the Smith lab under the mentorship of Jennifer Smith. Her plan is to study the important roles of herbivorous fishes on the coral reefs of Maui in order to better understand what can be done to help protect the coral reefs from further degradation. In her spare time, Sam enjoys painting, yoga, and diving. Her favorite animal, the octopus, inspires her to be clever and flexible to deal with all of life’s situations. Sam hopes to work in the field of education and outreach eventually, where she can share her passion for marine conservation with the world!
You can check out her blog here!
BS/MS Student: Molly Gleason
Molly graduated from UCSD in 2012 with a B.S. in Biology and a minor in Music. She is currently a graduate student enrolled in the UCSD MS program. Her previous work as an
undergraduate researcher over the past two years has involved studying food web perturbations caused by over-fishing and nutrient loading on reefs. She has studied the diet variability of Hawaiian herbivorous fish
to clarify the distinctive ecological roles of different herbivore species. Her interests also extend to understanding the effects of ocean acidification on important marine ecological processes. Under the supervision of her advisor Dr. Jennifer Smith and Dr. Nichole Price, she intends to focus on how acidified conditions may alter the settlement stages of abalone larvae. She hopes that her experiences as a Masters student will elucidate the potential harm of ocean acidification on marine habitats.
Research Assistant: Tiffany Teng
Tiffany Teng is originally from St. Louis, Missouri and has her B.S. in marine biology from UCLA. She moved to San Diego, CA to pursue a career in marine conservation. She started volunteering in the Smith Lab at the beginning of October 2010 and now is lucky enough to work in the Smith Lab as their website manager. She is interested in all aspects of marine conservation, and believes information is the key to success. She hopes to focus on promoting the outreach and education about how to protect the world’s marine environment in order to ensure that these ecosystems are here for future generations to enjoy.
Wet Lab Volunteer: Lenell Sagastume
Lenell Sagastume is a native San Diegan that has been working in the Sandin and Smith Lab since June 2010. Lenell earned a B.S. in Environmental Systems from UCSD and is interested in the anthropogenic effects on coral reef systems. His favorite fish is the longfin batfish.
Volunteer: Niko Kaplanis
Niko Kaplanis is a second year undergrad studying Earth Sciences with a minor in marine science. Niko has many interests which include surfing, diving, and learning how different marine ecosystems respond to human-caused environmental changes. His favorite marine animal is the dungeness crab (mostly because it is also his favorite food). Nikois currently working on a project studying the functional roles of cryptic marine invertebrates in Maui’s coral reefs.
Volunteer: Jennifer Le
Jennifer Le is a third year undergraduate working towards a double major in environmental systems (ecology, behavior and evolution and economics. Her interests include environmental conservation, cone snails and dancing (usually of the hip hop variety). Jennifer is a proud member of the CAU Herd, and is currently assisting with the processing of calcification accretion units collected from the PRIAs.
Volunteer: Erika D’Andrea
Erika D’Andrea is a first year undergraduate at UCSD majoring in Marine Biology. She was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, and has many hobbies including ice hockey, surfing, skiing, drawing, and painting. She plays on the UCSD women’s ultimate frisbee team and is training to be a guide at UCSD Outback Adventures. She is currently helping Levi Lewis in his study of the role of large and small invertebrates in the coral reefs on the western side of Maui. Erika’s favorite marine animal is the great white shark.
Volunteer: Eric Engel
Eric Engel is assisting Smith Lab PhD student Levi Lewis with his research. Eric graduated in June 2012 from the University of Washington in Seattle with a B.S. in Oceanography. Eric’s interests include all forms of marine science and marine education with a special interest in bio-geography, fisheries oceanography and GIS/Geospatial analysis. He enjoys spending his time walking his dog (AKA the love of his life), playing basketball, and watching movies and plays. He also volunteers up to 24 hours a week at the Birch Aquarium.
- Currie Dugas – Lab Manager (2011)
-Currently working as a Marketing Associate for the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, CA.
- Jackie Tran – Research Assistant (2011)
-Currently working as a Teacher and Garden Program Management & Developer for the Green Farms Academy in West Port, CT.
- Javier Cuetos-Bueno – CMBC MAS Student (2011)
- Dr. Andi Haas – Postdoctoral Researcher (2013)
-Currently a Postdoctoral Researcher at SDSU in Forest Rohwer’s lab.
- Shino Ogawa (2010)
- Sierra Basegio (2011)
- Portia Seautelle (2011)
- Rachel Graham (2011)
- Grace Koyama (2011)
- Ellen Umeda (2011)
- Rachel Levin (2011)
- George Balchin (2011)
- Kevin Moses (2011 – REU student)
- Karen Dunleavy (2011)
- Avantika Sinha (2011)
- Rebecca Soloway (2011)
- Daniel Conley (2012)
- Krista Catelani (2012)
- Currently works as a Lab Research Technician for NOAA in La Jolla, CA.
- Sarah Urata (2012)
- Ashley Cunningham (2012)
-Currently working as a Marine Turtle Ecology Intern for NOAA in La Jolla, CA.
- Zoe Dagan (2012)
-Currently working as a Coastal Science Technician for Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, CA.
- Daniel Coffee (2012)
-Currently working for Teach for America.
- Abigail Cannon (2012)
- Jennifer Bone (2012)
-Currently working for the Environmental Defense Fund in San Fracisco, CA.
- Carolyn Kim (2013)
- June 2013
- May 2013
- April 2013
- March 2013
- January 2013
- December 2012
- November 2012
- October 2012
- September 2012
- August 2012
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- February 2012
- January 2012
- December 2011
- November 2011
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- September 2011
- August 2011
- July 2011
- April 2011
- March 2011
- February 2011
- November 2010
- October 2010
TagsAlex Neu algae Amanda Carter Andi Haas Benthic Tents Birch Aquarium Brazil California Climate Change Clinton Edwards coral coral reef coral reef conservation Crustose Coralline Algae (CCA) Emily Kelly Grazers Halimeda Hawaii ICRS in situ experiments Jennifer Smith Jill Harris Kahekili Kingman Reef Levi Lewis Maggie Johnson Maui Molly Gleason Nichole Price NOAA Northern Line Islands Expedition Northern Line Islands Expedition 2010 Ocean Acidification outreach Palmyra phycology publication San Diego Science Education Scripps Institution of Oceanography Smith Lab Stuart Sandin Susan Kram Tiffany Teng UCSD