Robin Elahi is a graduate student in the Department of Biology, and is broadly interested in the causes and consequences of biological diversity. Since 2007, he has been conducting his dissertation research at the UW's Friday Harbor Laboratories in the San Juan Islands, WA. He studies epilithic communities found on subtidal rock walls, which harbor an impressive diversity of sessile invertebrates (e.g., sponges, bryozoans, ascidians), some algae (mostly reds), and their predators (snails, stars, urchins, fish). Robin has conducted small-scale field experiments at three sites, testing the effects of urchins and chitons on the diversity and structure of the sessile invertebrates and algae on subtidal walls. To place the experimental fieldwork into a broader geographic context, he surveyed 12 additional sites in the San Juan Islands and three sites in Hood Canal. The field experiments and surveys were complimented by diet analyses of urchins and chitons. These empirical data will be used to quantify the relative importance of diversity, grazers, and mesoscale oceanographic variation in this community.
Eliza Heery is a PhD student in the Biology Department at the University of Washington. She loves marine science and math. Before becoming a graduate student at UW, she completed a master's in Fisheries Stock Assessment at Virginia Tech and then worked as a statistician for the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). Her research at UW combines aspects of mathematical biology and marine community ecology, and primarily takes place in the San Juan Islands north of Seattle.
Gregory L. Kowalke has worked in plankton ecology for 15 years, and his interest in planktonic crustaceans continues to drive his career. He received his Bachelor's of Science degree in Ecology from California Polytechnic State University in 1999. He worked as an associate scientist for the environmental impact firm Tenera Environmental, LLC, assisting evaluation of the impact of coastal nuclear power plant facilites on local fisheries. He joined CalPoly again as a research technician for Dr. Dean Wendt in 2002. There, he focused primarily on biofouling control research for the Officer of Naval Research. In 2007, Greg enrolled at Oregon State University to work with Dr. Harold Batchelder modeling the transport of the copepod Calanus finmarchicus in the Northwest Pacific. He was awarded a Master's of Science in Biological Oceanography in 2010. Greg is currently a PhD student in the School of Oceanography at the University of Washington. He is working with Dr. Julie Keister researching the effects of ocean acidification on copepods in the Northeast Pacific. He became a fellow of the NSF OACIS GK-12 program at UW in 2011, and hopes to use this opportunity to improve his abilities in education and outreach.
Vivian Leung's research focuses on fluvial sediment transport and geomorphology. Her PhD research looks at how woody debris affects fluid flow and streambed morphology in rivers. Vivian runs flume experiments on fluid dynamics and sediment morphology around woody debris, and does fieldwork on the Hoh River on the Olympic peninsula.
Patricia (Patty) Montano graduated from Occidental College in Los Angeles, CA with a Bachelors of Art degree in Biology in 2004. In Spring 2011 she completed a Master's in Science degree in Biology from the University of Washington. Though a science nerd, Patty also studied dance and piano from a young age through her undergraduate years. Her work in science education in middle schools, high schools and college inspired her to pursue a career in museums where she could invite the public to consider the personal and cultural significances of science, and investigate the role that museums play in promoting science literacy. Her past museum experiences have been as a docent and developer of bilingual materials at the University of Washington Botany Greenhouse, and co-creator of a summer camp at the Conservatory at Volunteer Park in Seattle. Patty looks forward to bringing her multi-disciplinary interests together to produce exciting public programs for museum visitors of all ages and backgrounds.
Eleni Petrou fell in love with the great outdoors at age 3, when she saw her first flock of sheep on Mt. Parnassus. Now she gets her kicks out of studying ecology and evolution. She obtained a Bachelor of Science from the State University of New York at Buffalo. In her undergraduate years she traveled to the Bahamas, the Florida Keys, and Madagascar to learn about tropical ecosystems and to research how climate change will impact coral reefs. Research internships also took her to Panama (to study sea urchin speciation) and coastal Alabama (where she fell in love with the Gulf Coast).
Currently, Eleni is a Master's student at the University of Washington's School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences. Her current research investigates the population genetics of Alaskan chum salmon and explores how past climatic events affected patterns of genetic differentiation among populations. She enjoys science that pertains to conservation or management issues, and is excited that part of this research will be used by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to manage a sustainable fishery. Eleni is enthusiastic that OACIS gave her a chance to step out of the lab and share her love of science with students and the community!
Caroline Pew is pursuing her PhD in Earth and Space Sciences at UW. She uses her background in geochemistry and biology to answer questions about how climate change affects biological systems through the study of paleoclimatic events. Her passion for geology began as a kid when she rock-hounded around Washington State as a hobby. She had to learn about the local geology to find the specific minerals she sought. Even though she loved geology, she worried that her math skills weren't strong enough to pursue geology as a degree in college. During an inspiring geology field class at North Seattle Community College, she realized her own enthusiasm for geology was a strong incentive to face the challenge of strengthening her math and science background. Caroline went on to complete an Earth and Space Sciences bachelor's degree at UW. During her senior year she got involved in research that used isotope signatures (atoms from particular chemicals) left in river and stream sediments to find out what microbial metabolisms were present at the time of decomposition. This project began her interest in geochemistry and paleobiology. Throughout her college career she also has worked as an environmental educator at the Woodland Park Zoo. Science and education are my two greatest passions and wherever my career path leads I know that science and education will have starring roles.
Shane Schoepfer is a third-year graduate student in the UW Department of Earth and Space Sciences. His research focuses on two major mass extinctions in the fossil record, the Permian-Triassic and Triassic-Jurassic, both of which are believed to have been caused by rapid global warming. He uses a variety of geochemical tools to explore how marine ecosystems responded to these events through changes in nutrient cycling and primary productivity, and how biological changes in turn drove environmental conditions. Shane has worked in the field collecting marine sediments and fossils from sites around the world including northwestern Australia, the Antarctica Peninsula, and the Canadian Rockies.
Derek Smith is currently in the Biology PhD program at the University of Washington. He recently graduated with a Master's of Science degree from the Zoology department at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. A remote field expedition to the undiscovered coastline of Albania four years ago set in motion research which he hopes to be conducting for many years to come. Derek is studying the biological communities associated with submerged structures in the form of shipwrecks, downed aircraft, and just about all other manner of introduced foreign structures in marine and freshwater environments (e.g., piers, breakwaters, and even remote-sensing equipment). These anthropogenic structures offer a unique laboratory for studying ecological processes ranging from small-scale settlement and recruitment events to the community-wide interactions of populations of fishes, invertebrates, and algae. He hopes his research will inform managers and conservation efforts as well as help bio-engineers develop better ways to design, build, and implement future submerged structures in our coastal oceans and deep seas.
Caroline Storer grew up in Chicago (proper), but has always had a penchant for the ocean and all things ocean-related. During high school she got her ocean-fix by volunteering at the John G. Shedd Aquarium and working at a SCUBA shop (yes, there is plenty of SCUBA diving in the Midwest). However, life on the seashore remained elusive until college when Caroline trucked across the Eastern U.S. to spend her days searching seagrass beds for pipefish at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida. Having seen what the Atlantic Ocean had to offer, she headed out west in 2009 to live on the coast of the Pacific Ocean (well, really Puget Sound) and pursue a Master's of Science at the University of Washington's School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences. Now she is working as a graduate fellow with OACIS trying to bring some of the science that she works on into the high school classroom in Friday Harbor. If you want to learn more about Caroline or her research, please visit her website.