Dr. Linda Walters, Pegasus Professor of Biology
Dr. Melinda Donnelly, Research Assistant Professor of Biology
Dr. Paul Sacks, Field Research Technician
Suzanne Connor, Field Research Technician



2019: Graduate Students

Christian Pilato: Graduated Spring 2019. Defended MS Thesis in March 2019. Thesis title: “Hydrodynamic limitations and the effects of living shoreline stabilization on mangrove recruitment along Florida coastlines.”
Iris Fang: MS candidate in Biology. Thesis title: “Impact of Boring Sponge on Oysters in the Indian River Lagoon.”
Jessie Copertino: MS candidate in Biology. Thesis title: “Impacts of Oyster Reef Restoration on Threatened and Endangered Birds in Mosquito Lagoon.”
Casey Craig: MS candidate in Biology. Thesis title: “Quantifying Microplastic Pollution in a Florida Estuary.”
Becca Fillyaw: MS candidate in Biology. Thesis title: “Optimizing Shoreline Stabilization Along Florida Estuaries.”
Rebecca Wimmer: MS candidate in Interdisciplinary Studies. Thesis title: “Decades of community-based restoration: impacts on habitats and people.”

Pilato (left) and Fang. Oyster reef restoration, CANA.

2019: Undergraduate Research Students and Field Assistants

John Buzby
Julia Carlin: UCF Order of Pegasus Honoree, Top Honor Graduate. Honors in the Major Thesis title: “Investigation of Microplastic Accumulation in the Gastrointestinal Tract in Birds of Prey.”
Jacki Condon: SURF Scholar
Carter Cook
Noah Friedland
Brice Giles
Jacob Hromyak: SURF Scholar
Calissa Jones: EXCEL Scholar
Jessica Needham
Jessica Phagan
Megan Witt: RAMP Scholar


Dr. Giovanna McClenachan, Postdoctoral Research Fellow from 1/2018 – 12/2020. Now employed as an Assistant Professor at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, Louisiana.
Dr. Melinda Donnelly, Postdoctoral Research Fellow from 1/2016 – 7/2019. Now employed as a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, FL.
Dr. Paul Sacks, Field Technician
Suzanne Connor, Field Technician
Jessica Phagan, GIS Technician
Michelle Shaffer, Field Technician
Wei Samantha Yuan, Field Technician

Previous Graduate Students

Marie-Josee Abgrall: Thesis title: “Settlement preferences, recruitment, and dispersal potential of the bryozoan Bugula Neritina on drift macroalgae in mosquito lagoon, Volusia County, Florida.”
Andrea Barber Alden: Thesis title: “Restoration Of Intertidal Oyster Reefs Affected By Intense Boating Activity in Mosquito Lagoon, Florida.”
Michelle Boudreaux: Thesis title: “Native and Invasive Competitors Of The Eastern Oyster Crassostrea virginica In Mosquito Lagoon, Florida.”
Donna Campbell: Thesis title: “Quantifying the effects of boats wakes on intertidal oyster reefs in a shallow estuary.”
Suzanne Connor
Melinda Donnelly: Thesis title: “Is The Exotic Brazilian Pepper, Schinus terebinthifolius, A Threat To Mangrove Ecosystems in Florida?”
Melinda Donnelly: Dissertation title: “Effects of Biotic Interactions on Coastal Communities With Applications For Restoration.”
Stephanie Garvis: Thesis title: “Quantifying The Impacts Of Oyster Reef Restoration On Oyster Coverage, Wave Attenuation and Seagrass Fragment Retention in Mosquito Lagoon, Florida.”
Christian Glardon: Thesis title: “Predicting Risks of Invasion of Caulerpa Species In Florida.”
Katherine Brown Grablow: Thesis title: “Recovery And Restoration Of The Seagrass Halodule wrightii After Boat Propeller Scar Damage In A Pole-troll Zone in Mosquito Lagoon.”
Julie Liss: Thesis title: “The Ecology Of Drift Algae In The Indian River Lagoon, Florida.”
Panagiota (Penny) Makris: Thesis title: “Effects of harmful algal blooms caused by Aureoumbra lagunensis (brown tide) on larval and juvenile life stages of the eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica).”
Jennifer Manis: Thesis title: “Assessing The Effectiveness Of Living Shoreline Restoration And Wave Attenuation in Mosquito Lagoon, Florida.”
Ethan Fletcher Nash: Thesis title: “Understanding The Invasion Of Florida’s Intertidal Crassostrea virginica Reefs By Non-native Marine Invertebrate Species.”
Wendy D. Noke: Thesis title: “Interactions between the Indian River Lagoon blue crab fishery and the bottlenose dolphin Tursiops truncates.”
Rachel Odom: Thesis title: “The Next “killer” Algae? Assessing And Mitigating Invasion Risk For Aquarium Strains Of The Marine Macroalgal Genus Chaetomorpha.”
Nicole Robinson: Thesis title: “Interactions Between Nudibranch Okenia Zoobotryon And Its Bryozoan.”
Arte C. Roman: Thesis title: “Spatial and temporal analysis of the growth dynamics of the ascidian Perophora viridis.”
Joshua Solomon: Thesis title: “Identifying inundation-driven effects among intertidal Crassostrea virginica in a commercially important Gulf of Mexico estuary.”
Jennifer Stiner: Thesis title: “Predation On The Eastern Oyster Crassostrea virginica On Intertidal Reefs Affected By Recreational Boating.”
Lisa Wall: Thesis title: “Recruitment And Restoration Of The Oyster Crassostrea virginica In Areas With Intense Boating Activity in Mosquito Lagoon, Florida.”
Laura Ann Wick: Thesis title: “Vegetative fragmentation ecology of the macroalgae Dictyota and Laurenci in the Florida Everglades.”
Rachel Witcher: Thesis title “Behaviors of the Atlantic bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) in non-restricted and restricted boating areas in the Indian River-Banana River Complex, Florida.”
Wei Samantha Yuan: “The Effects of Non-native Species on Two Life-stages of the Eastern oyster Crassostrea virginica – Mussels and Barnacles.”

Previous Undergraduate Research Students

If you have conducted research as part of CEELAB but your name is not listed below, please contact us and we will happily add it.
Maya Alphonse
Lacie Anderson: Honors in the Major Thesis title: “Quantifying The Success Of Eastern Oyster Pilot Reefs in Brevard County, Florida.”
Justin Bridges
Sasha Brodsky
Dottie Bryon
Courtney Buck
Steven Carrion: Honors in the Major Thesis title: “Determining Factors that Influence Smooth Cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora Loisel) Transplant Success in Community-Based Living Shoreline Projects.”
Ocean Cohen
Suzanne Connor
Jane Conrad
Casey Craig
Emmi Curtiss
Julie DeLauriers: Honors in the Major Thesis title: “Preventing Introductions to Sustain Healthy Ecosystems: Establish Eradication Protocols for a Popular Aquarium Seaweed.”, Order of Pegasus.
Heidi Deutsche
Jordan Filipino
Samantha Fischer
Eddie Florres
Heather Flynn
Stephanie Garvis
Shelly Gaynor
Violette Gibbs
Nancy Gillis
Katherine Brown Grablow
Daniele Greene
Jeff Grevert
Summer Hamadeh
Katherine Harris: Honors in the Major Thesis title: “Oyster Reef Restoration: Impacts on Infaunal Communities in a Shallow Water Estuary.”
Laura Wick Herren
Paige Jaffe
Sarah Johnson
Sydney Katz
Mark Kemper
Lori Konar
Chelsea Landeau
J.J. Leissing
Danny LeJuene
Rob Levinthal
Nicole Malizia
Neysa Martinez
Megan Mindalie
Mikaela Morella
Christian Pilato
Heather Piper
Megan Robbins
Nicole Robinson
Michele Shaffer
Tiffany Sheldon
Stephany Silva
Leah Smith
Samantha Spinuzzi
Kali Standorf
Aiesha Stevens
Lauren Stroud
Sara Bolivar Wagers
Heidi Waite: Honors in the Major Thesis title: “Investigating the Quantity and Types of Microplastics in the Organic Tissue of Oysters and Crabs in the Indian River Lagoon.”
Erin Walker