Present and Past Students


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Kenyon Mobley heads for the water
in the Florida Keys

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Stephanie Schopmeyer conducts field
experiments at Lee Stocking Island, Bahamas

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Sarah Tso contemplates life after a dive at Lee Stocking Island, Bahamas


Graduate Students

·         Anne V. Holte (1998) Salinity-induced behavior and morphological responses in the larvae of three species of intertidal echinoderms. M.S. Thesis, Georgia Southern Univ., 59 pp. (Anne is Adjunct Faculty at St. Petersburg College, St. Petersburg, FL)

·         Kenyon B. Mobley (2001) Ultraviolet radiation and carotenoid pigmentation in symbiotic anthozoans. M.S. Thesis, Georgia Southern Univ., 112 pp. (Kenyon received a PhD in the Department of Biology at Texas A&M University and is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at Umea University, Umea, Sweden)

·         Stephanie A. Schopmeyer (2002) The role of mucus in the ultraviolet radiation protection of Porites astreoides. M.S. Thesis, Georgia Southern Univ., 72 pp. (Stephanie is a Senior Research Associate at Rosenstiel School for Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Miami, Miami, FL)

·         Sarah Tso (2003) Sex allocation in the Caribbean coral Porites astreoides. M.S. Thesis, Georgia Southern Univ., 30 pp. (Sarah is currently in the masters program in the College of Social Work at Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL)

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Chris Freeman prepares to
dive at Gray's Reef.

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Leslie Sarmiento relaxes on the R/V Sam Gray after a dive.

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Rob Ruzicka inspects sponge samples collected off Georgia.

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Carrie MacKichan counts coral recruits while working in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands.

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Lauren Wagner prepares to epoxy Oculina to the reef.

·         Carrie A. MacKichan (2003) Effects of ultraviolet radiation on newly settled recruits of the reef-building coral Porites astreoides. M.S. Thesis, Georgia Southern Univ., 58 pp. (Carrie completed a PhD in the Department of Fisheries at Auburn University, Auburn, AL and is now a Fishery Biologist with the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council in Tampa, FL)

·         R. Robert Ruzicka (2005) Sponge community structure and anti-predator defenses on temperate reefs of the South Atlantic Bight. M.S. Thesis, Georgia Southern Univ., 84 pp. (Rob is currently directing the coral reef monitoring program at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg, FL).

·         Lauren M. Wagner (2006) Population genetic structure of the temperate scleractinian coral, Oculina arbuscula, in coastal Georgia. M.S. Thesis, Georgia Southern Univ., 59 pp. (Lauren is currently studying veterinary medicine at Ohio State University, Columbus, OH).

·         Christopher J. Freeman (2007) Are chemical defenses allocated within sponges to defend regions most at risk to predator attack? M.S. Thesis, Georgia Southern Univ., 93 pp. (Chris is currently in the PhD program in the Department of Biology at University of Alabama at Birmingham).

·         Leslie V. Sarmiento (2008) Inducible chemical defenses in temperate reef sponges of the South Atlantic Bight, U.S.A. M.S. Thesis, Georgia Southern Univ., 68 pp. (Leslie is Founder and Director of Huicundo Biological Research Station in Ecuador).

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Kenan Matterson is geared up and ready to dive at J-Y Reef, Georgia

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Lauren Divine switches out tanks in preparation for the next dive

·         Lauren M. Divine (2011) Effects of sediment on growth and survival of various juvenile morphologies of the scleractinian coral, Oculina arbuscula (Verrill), M.S. Thesis, Georgia Southern Univ., 79 pp. (Lauren is currently in the PhD program in the School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, University of Alaska – Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK).

·         Kenan O. Matterson - The effect of settlement angle on the nutritional modes and juvenile growth of the temperate Scleractinian coral Oculina arbuscula. (in progress)

·         Brittany N. Poirson - The role of adult communities in the recruitment and succession of benthic invertebrates at Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary. (in progress)


Undergraduate Research Students

·         Fiona Aitken (1997) MAAs and variability in coral bleaching.

·         Elizabeth Foster (1998) The relationship between the concentration of coral algal groups and the concentration of UV absorbing compounds along a depth gradient.

·         Stephanie Schopmeyer (1998-99) UV absorbing compounds in the larvae and adults of the coral Favia fragum.

·         Paul Barger (1999) Skeletal density and bioerosion rates in Caribbean corals.

·         Tonya Pickelsimer (1999) UV absorbing compounds in the Caribbean coral Montastrea faveolata.

·         Michael Hodges (2000) Plasticity in skeletal density in the Caribbean coral Porites astreoides.

·         Jessica Jones (2000-01) Seasonal variation in mycosporine-like amino acids in three species of Caribbean corals.

·         Brendon Harvey (2002-03) Ecology of the Asiatic clam in southeast Georgia.

·         Ross Bridges (2005) Variation in chemical defenses in the temperate sponge Axinyssa ambrosia.

·         Jade Nelson (2006) Differences in anti-predator defenses in above and below substrate portions of the temperate sponge Raspailia sp. (Note: Research Experience for Undergraduates student from South Carolina State University.

·         Leslie Sutton (2007) Spatial variation in sedimentation rates on temperate reefs of Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary.

·         Kevin Macaulay (2009) A comparison of the efficiency of two extraction methods for removing anti-predator compounds from sponges.

·         Lacey Haley (2010) Population structure of the invasive barnacle, Megabalanus coccopoma, in coastal Georgia.

·         Eli O'Cain (2011-2012) The effect of private boat docks on benthic infauna of Georgia salt marshes.

·         Jamie Price (2012) Bioaccumulation and retention of Rhodamine WT dye in filter-feeding benthic invertebrates.

Undergraduate Research Assistants

·         Leslie Sutton (2005-2006)

·         Hampton Harbin (2005-2006)

·         Kevin Macaulay (2009)

·         Jessica Cain (2010)

·         Brandi Womack (2010)

·         Hannah Sciarappa (2011-2012)


Misc. Lab Happenings!

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Pedro's Hot Dogs (Kenyon, Sarah, and Stephanie) pause to pet Pedro's dog at South of the Border.

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Hampton Harbin, Leslie Sarmiento, Sarah Mock and I pose after a dive at our beloved J-Reef

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Benthic Ecology Meeting 2005, Williamsburg, VA: Clearly these meetings are stressful!


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The Georgia Southern contingent at Benthic Ecology Meeting 2007

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Who is that masked man and what does he want with us?

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Finally, more lab space! Gleason lab annex opened in 2008!


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The Georgia Southern contingent again at Benthic Ecology Meeting this time in Wilmington, NC in 2010. From left: Josh Parris, Risa Cohen, Michelle Carlson, Sophie George, Kenan Matterson, Danny Gleason, Lauren Divine.


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