People

Principal investigator

Max C. N. Castorani

Education:
2014 Ph.D. Ecology, University of California, Davis and San Diego State University
2008 B.S. Evolution & Ecology, Ohio State University

Appointments:
2017–Present. Assistant Professor, University of Virginia
2014–2017. Postdoctoral Scholar, University of California, Santa Barbara

Curriculum vitae

Email: castorani@virginia.edu

Lab manager and lead technician

Emily M. Goetz 

Education:
2022 M.S. Marine Science, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William & Mary 
2015 B.A. Environmental Studies, Middlebury College

Email: wye8jf@virginia.edu

Graduate students

Billie Beckley

Ph.D. student (at UC Santa Barbara; primary advisor: Robert Miller)

Education:
2020 M.S. Ecology, San Diego State University
2014 B.S. Environmental Science, Dickinson College

Research interests: marine ecology, conservation, disturbance ecology, kelp forests, primary producers

Email: billiebeckley@ucsb.edu 

Lauren E. Brideau

Ph.D. student
National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow

Education:
2020 B.S. Environmental Systems & Sustainability Studies, Southern Connecticut State Univ.

Research interests: community ecology, restoration, ecosystem function, seagrass meadows, coastal dynamics

Email: lbrideau@virginia.edu

Michael R. Cornish

Ph.D. candidate
Virginia Sea Grant Graduate Research Fellow

Education:
2019 B.A. Human Ecology (Ecology/Evolution), College of the Atlantic

Research interests: foundation species, community ecology, coastal ecology, UAS imagery

Email: mcornish@virginia.edu

 

Sean Hardison

Ph.D. candidate
Virginia Sea Grant Graduate Research Fellow

Education:
2017 M.S. Biology, University of North Carolina Wilmington
2014 B.S. Biology, Pennsylvania State University

Research interests: marine community ecology, fisheries ecology, ecosystem based fisheries management, ecological modeling

Email: sh5rs@virginia.edu
Website: 
https://github.com/seanhardison1/

Ethan Kadiyala

Ph.D. student

Education:
2020 B.S. Environmental Studies & Physical Geography, University of California, Santa Barbara

Research interests: conservation science, coastal ecology, biogeography, biological oceanography, marine community ecology

Email: ekadiyala@virginia.edu

Kinsey N. Tedford

Ph.D. candidate
Jefferson Scholars Foundation Fellow and Virginia Sea Grant Graduate Research Fellow

Education:
2018 M.S. Biology, University of Central Oklahoma
2015 B.S. Biology, University of Central Oklahoma

Research interests: marine ecology, population dynamics, predator-prey interactions, restoration science, oyster reefs

Email: ktedford@virginia.edu
Website: https://kinseytedford.github.io/

Undergraduate students

Mattie Anderton

Research Technician (2022)
Education: 2023 B.A. Environmental Thought and Practice, University of Virginia
Research interests: Chesapeake Bay conservation

Emily Barker 

Research Technician (2022)
Education: 2025 [undeclared], University of Virginia
Research interests: coastal ecology, marine biology, global conservation and sustainability, public policy

Rachel Bohannon

Research Technician (2021–2022)
Education: 2025 [undeclared], University of Virginia
Research interests: conservation, marine ecology, global sustainability

James Davis

Research Technician (2022); Virginia Coast Reserve LTER REU (2022)
Education: 2023 B.S. Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia
Research interests: coastal environments, conservation, climate change

Connor Dooren

Research Technician (2021–2022)
Education: 2023 B.S. Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia
Research interests: coastal ecology, conservation

Renee Hebert

Research Technician (2022)
Education: 2023 B.S Biochemistry (Environmental Sciences minor), University of Virginia
Research interests: marine biogeochemistry and chemical ecology, marine biology, conservation 

Olivia Redding

Research Technician (2019–2022); Distinguished Majors Program (2023)
Education: 2023 B.S. Environmental Sciences and B.A. Global Studies, University of Virginia
Research interests: marine biology, global sustainability

Samuel Solomon

Research Technician (2022)
Education: 2024 B.S. Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia
Research interests: marsh ecology, marine conservation

Miriam Wanner

Senior Thesis (2021–2023)
Education: 2023 B.S. Computer Science and B.S. Mathematics, University of Virginia
Research interests: quantitative ecology, synchrony

Chloe Wetzler

Research Technician (2022)
Education: 2023 B.S. Environmental Thought & Practice and B.S. Spanish, University of Virginia
Research interests: conservation, coastal ecology, and climate change

Lab alumni

  • Maowei Liang (2021–2022). Current position: Research Scientist at Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve, University of Minnesota.
  • Rachel S. Smith (2019–2022). Current position: Assistant Research Biologist and project lead for the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station Mitigation Monitoring Program, University of California, Santa Barbara.
  • Katharine Schlachter. Research Technician (2020–2023); Virginia Coast Reserve LTER REU (2021); Distinguished Majors Program (2022). Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia. “Suspended algal dynamics across a seagrass meadow landscape.”
  • Camille Wilson. Research Technician (2019–2021); Distinguished Majors Program (2022). Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia. “Comparing scale and otolith age estimates to understand the potential bias of long-term American shad age data in the Penobscot River.”
  • Jesus Neyra. Research Technician (2021–2022). Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia.
  • Maddy Ross. Research Technician (2019–2021). Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia.
  • Selina Cheng. Research Technician (2020–2021); Virginia Coast Reserve LTER REU (2019); Distinguished Majors Program (2020–2021)Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia. “Blue crab spatial patterns across a seagrass landscape.”
  • Sarah Lang. Virginia Space Grant Consortium REU (2019); Distinguished Majors Program (2020–2021). Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia. “Modeling coastal water clarity using Landsat-8 and Sentinel-2.”
  • Elizabeth Eareckson. Research Technician (2019–2020). Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia.
  • Shivani Lakshman. Research Technician (2019–2020). Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia.
  • Jun DeBus. Research Technician (2018–2020). Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia.
  • Carrie Wentzel. Research Technician (2018–2020); Senior Thesis (2019–2020). Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia. “Spatial variation in seagrass recovery following habitat restoration.”
  • Sophia Rosenberg. Research Technician (2018–2020); Distinguished Majors Program (2020). Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia. “Biodiversity of oyster reef invertebrates at the Virginia Coast Reserve.”
  • Elizabeth Daly. Research Technician (2018–2019); Virginia Coast Reserve LTER REU (2018). Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia. “Spatial distributions of large invertebrate consumers across a seagrass landscape.”
  • Samantha Townsend. Research Technician (2018–2019). Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia.
  • Elizabeth Bieri. Virginia Coast Reserve LTER REU (2018). Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia. “Effects of seagrass landscape structure on the growth of hard clams, Mercenaria mercenaria.”
  • Taylor Traxler. Honors Thesis (2015–2017). Santa Barbara Coastal LTER, University of California, Santa Barbara. “Disturbance frequency structures ecological communities in Santa Barbara kelp forests.”
  • Taylor Simpkins. Research Technician (2012–2013). Coastal and Marine Institute, San Diego State University. “The effects of the exotic Asian mussel on the resilience of eelgrass to disturbance.”
  • Elizabeth Travis. Honors Thesis (2012–2013). Coastal and Marine Institute, San Diego State University. “Stable isotopes as a tool to trace California spiny lobster food webs.”
  • Cristina Lever. Research Technician (2011–2012). Coastal and Marine Institute, San Diego State University. “Effects of native predator chemical cues on anti-predation behaviors in an invasive marine bivalve.”
  • Olivia Turnross. Research Technician (2010). Bodega Marine Laboratory, University of California, Davis. “Interactions between eelgrass Zostera marina and ghost shrimp Neotrypaea californiensis.”