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 

Michael R. Cornish

Ph.D. student

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

Research interests: marine macroecology, spatial ecology, predator-prey dynamics, ichthyology, remote sensing

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: remote sensing, pattern recognition, metapopulation dynamics, oyster reef ecology

Email: sh5rs@virginia.edu

 Website: https://github.com/seanhardison1/

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: conservation management, predator-prey dynamics, seascape ecology, oyster reefs, seagrass meadows

Email: ktedford@virginia.edu

Website: https://kinseytedford.github.io/

Undergraduate students

Selina Cheng

Research Technician (2019–2020)
Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) student, 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

Jun DeBus

Research Technician (2018–2019)
Education: 2021 B.S. Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia
Research interests: marine and coastal conservation, coral reefs

Elizabeth Eareckson

Research Technician (2019–2020)
Education: 2021 B.S. Environmental Sciences and B.A. Religious Studies, University of Virginia
Research interests: ecology, ecosystem management

Sarah Lang

Research Experiences for Undergraduates (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

Shivani Lakshman

Research Technician (2019–2020)
Education: 2021 B.S. Environmental Sciences and B.A. Spanish, University of Virginia
Research interests: ecology, conservation, sustainability

Olivia Redding

Research Technician (2019–2020)
Education: 2023 B.S. Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia
Research interests: ecology, sustainability

Maddy Ross

Research Technician (2019–2020)
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)
Education: 2022 B.S. Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia
Research interests: marine ecology, plant ecology, conservation

Camille Wilson

Research Technician (2019–2020)
Education: 2022 B.S. Environmental Sciences and B.S. Biology, University of Virginia
Research interests: marine and coastal ecology, conservation

Lab alumni

  • Carrie Wentzel. Research Technician (2018–2020) and Senior Thesis.  Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia. Thesis title: “Spatial variation in seagrass recovery following habitat restoration.”
  • Sophia Rosenberg. Research Technician (2018–2020) and Distinguished Majors Program in Environmental Science.  Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia. Thesis title: “Biodiversity of oyster reef invertebrates at the Virginia Coast Reserve.”
  • Elizabeth Daly. Research Technician (2018–2019) and Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) student, Virginia Coast Reserve LTER (2018). Project title: “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. Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) student (2018). Virginia Coast Reserve LTER, University of Virginia. Project title: “Effects of seagrass landscape structure on the growth of hard clams, Mercenaria mercenaria.”
  • Taylor Traxler. Undergraduate Honors Thesis (2016–2017). Santa Barbara Coastal LTER, University of California, Santa Barbara. Thesis title: “Disturbance frequency structures ecological communities in Santa Barbara kelp forests.”
  • Taylor Simpkins. Research Technician (2012–2013). Coastal and Marine Institute, San Diego State University. Project title: “The effects of the exotic Asian mussel on the resilience of eelgrass to disturbance.”
  • Elizabeth Travis. Undergraduate Honors Thesis (2012–2013). Coastal and Marine Institute, San Diego State University. Thesis title: “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. Project title: “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. Project title: “Interactions between eelgrass Zostera marina and ghost shrimp Neotrypaea californiensis.”