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

Postdoctoral scholars

Rachel S. Smith

NatureNet Science Fellow (The Nature Conservancy)

Education:
2019 Ph.D. Ecology, University of Georgia
2010 B.A. Biological Sciences, Northwestern University

Research interests: habitat restoration, coastal community ecology, invasive species, ecosystem engineers, conservation, science communication

Email: rss2jj@virginia.edu
Website:
https://rachelssmith.weebly.com

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

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. student

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. student

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. student
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

Selina Cheng

Research Technician and Distinguished Majors Program in Environmental Science (2019–2021)
REU student at Virginia Coast Reserve LTER (2019)
Project title:
 “Blue crab spatial patterns within and among seagrass meadows in Virginia’s seaside bays”
Education: 2021 B.S. Environmental Sciences and B.A. English, University of Virginia
Research interests: coastal ecology, population dynamics,  plant ecology

Sarah Lang

Distinguished Majors Program in Environmental Science (2020–2021)
REU student, Virginia Space Grant Consortium (2019)

Project title: “Predictive modeling of coastal water quality using Landsat-8”
Education: 2021 B.S. Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia
Research interests: oceanography, atmospheric science, atmosphere/ocean interaction, planetary boundary layer

Maddy Ross

Research Technician (2019–2021)
Education: 2023 B.A. Environmental Sciences and B.S. Biology, University of Virginia
Research interests: marine paleontology, geology, and ecology; evolutionary biology

Kay Schlachter

Research Technician (2020–2021) and REU student at Virginia Coast Reserve LTER (2021)
Education: 2022 B.S. Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia
Research interests: marine ecology, plant ecology, conservation

Miriam Wanner

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

Camille Wilson

Research Technician (2019–2021)
Education: 2022 B.S. Environmental Sciences and B.S. Biology, University of Virginia
Research interests: marine and coastal ecology, conservation

Lab alumni

  • Elizabeth Eareckson. Research Technician (2019–2020). Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia.
  • Olivia Redding. 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 and Senior Thesis (2018–2020). Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia. “Spatial variation in seagrass recovery following habitat restoration.”
  • Sophia Rosenberg. Research Technician and Distinguished Majors Program in Environmental Science (2018–2020). Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia. “Biodiversity of oyster reef invertebrates at the Virginia Coast Reserve.”
  • Elizabeth Daly. Research Technician (2018–2019) and REU student (2018). Virginia Coast Reserve LTER, 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. REU student (2018). Virginia Coast Reserve LTER, University of Virginia. “Effects of seagrass landscape structure on the growth of hard clams, Mercenaria mercenaria.”
  • Taylor Traxler. Honors Thesis (2016–2017). 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.”