Go to Heppell Lab home page

Below is information on our current graduate students and their projects. Our previous students are busy with new careers and research.

Andrea Jara

Andrea Jara

I am a PhD student working under the direction of Doctor Selina Heppell. Prior to coming to OSU I completed a B.S. in Marine Biology from Jorge Tadeo Lozano University in Colombia and received a MS in Marine Ecology from CICESE, Mexico. My experience has been focused in the analysis of coastal an marine environmental services that allow the development of management plans, as well as the ecological, biological and social assessment of marine fisheries. My PhD research focuses on the application of data-poor assessment tools in the Oregon Coast and in the Colombian Pacific fisheries, trying to incorporate local catch, stock condition information, reflect smaller-scale processes and enable management strategies and changes in local monitoring that could improve local assessments.

Jessica Andrade

Jessica Andrade

I am pursuing a Masters Degree in Fisheries Science under the advice of Dr. Scott Heppell and Dr. Jessica Miller. I graduated from the University of San Diego with a B.A. in Marine Science and an emphasis in biology. My main interests are the ecology and physiology of marine fishes. I plan on studying how ocean acidification affects fish behavior.

Patricia Rincón-Díaz

Patricia Rincon Diaz

I am a PhD student working under the advisory of Drs. Selina and Scott Heppell. My research interests are focused on the study of habitat features that affect distribution and abundance of marine vertebrate species such as sea turtles and fish, and how management actions can help to protect species and habitats in the Caribbean Region. This ecological information can be applied to decision-making processes to facilitate better and more effective management actions in habitats such as coral and rocky reefs. I have a bachelors degree in Marine Biology from the Jorge Tadeo Lozano University of Colombia, and a masters degree in Biology with emphasis in Tropical Ecology and Systematic from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus. I have worked in conservation projects with communities and research groups in Colombia, Puerto Rico, and Panama. My PhD research goals will be directed to determine spatial patterns of distribution and abundance of commercially important fish species in coastal and marine ecosystems in Puerto Rico and Colombia, where declines in fish species abundances are still observed, in spite the establishment of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). This information will be used to identify strategies in the rezoning of the established MPAs.

Patricia's CV

Matt Ramirez

Matt Ramirez

I am pursuing a Masters Degree in Fisheries Science at OSU under the direction of Dr. Selina Heppell. Prior to coming to OSU I completed a B.S. in Zoology at Auburn University and worked as a sea turtle intern for both the BHI Conservancy in NC and the Conservancy of SW FL where I assisted in monitoring beaches for sea turtle nesting activity during the day and night. Broadly my interests encompass the population ecology, foraging ecology, and conservation biology of threatened and endangered marine species. In particular, I am interested in using quantitative and lab methods to analyze variance in sea turtle foraging ecology (and other life history parameters) and to investigate potential effects on sea turtle population dynamics. This information may then be used to improve stock assessment models for sea turtles.

Amy Lindsley

Amy Lindsley

I am pursing a Masters Degree in Fisheries Science under Dr. Scott Heppell. I obtained my Wildlife Management, B.T. at the State University of New York at Cobleskill. Since that time I have worked in a variety of locations, primarily in Antarctica and Alaska, working with creatures from stiff-tailed penguins and California condors to salmon and amphibians. My main interests are the ecology, conservation and management of marine communities. I plan on studying movement and juvenile recruitment of rockfish.

Amy's CV

Tom Calvanese

Tom Calvanese

I am a graduate student in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, conducting my research under the advisement of Dr. Scott Heppell. I am using acoustic telemetry to study the movement patterns of fish at Redfish Rocks on Oregon's south coast. Redfish Rocks is one of the first two marine reserves designated by the State of Oregon, and will be closed to fishing as of January 1, 2012. I am studying the movement patterns, home ranges, and habitat associations of six species of fish targetted by both the commercial live fish and recreational fisheries in Port Orford. My research aims to determine the potential impact this reserve may have on populations of different species of fish based on their movement patterns and home ranges relative to the reserve boundaries, and to help refine models of species habitat associations. I live in Port Orford, where I am conducting my field work, and working as a commercial diver in the sea urchin fishery. Please visit fishtracker.org to learn more about this fascinating project, including how you can help to support this research!

Susan Piacenza

Susan Piacenza

I am a PhD student working under Dr. Selina Heppell. My interests within the field of marine ecology include population ecology and conservation biology, and community and species response to and recovery from disturbance. I am interested in applying quantitative and empirical methods to better understand marine species and ecosystems and ultimately to improve our conservation and management of them. I have worked in a variety of marine ecosystems including the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, the US West Coast, and Hawaii. I received a MS in marine ecology from the University of South Florida and a BS in Ecology from the University and Minnesota. I am the OSU graduate student lead for the Dimensions of Biodiversity Distributed Graduate Seminar, an NSF-funded project run concurrently at multiple universities in the US and internationally. My PhD research focuses on the dynamics of recovering populations of green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) in Hawaii and Florida. I am examining how life history traits have changed over time and with population size. These life history trait estimates will be used to build an individual based model to test how individual variability can affect population growth, reproduction and recovery. Finally, I will use a management strategy evaluation, a simulation-based framework, to test which monitoring data give the most realistic information on population status and how management can best support continued recovery of this species.

Susan's CV

Allison Evans

Allison Evans

My interests are currently focused on one aspect of reproductive failure of lake trout in the Laurentian Great Lakes, Thiamine Deficiency Complex (TDC). In the Great Lakes, lake trout eggs suffer from a deficiency of thiamine (vitamin B1). TDC results in fry mortality and is caused by adult female lake trout consuming prey fish with high levels of thiaminase, an enzyme that breaks down thiamine. I am identifying trophic pathways associated with high levels of thiaminase and potential sources of thiaminase in food webs. I am interested in determining the extent to which specific food web components are associated with high thiaminase activity and the degree to which the distribution of thiaminase in Great Lakes food webs is explained by trophic structure. The overarching goal is to use the results of this work to enhance lake trout restoration efforts.

Allison's CV

Kevin Thompson

Kevin Thompson

I have a long standing recreational and academic interest in the ocean and fisheries. I have worked in a wide range of ecosystems for various fisheries research projects including the Florida Gulf coast, the Chesapeake Bay and associated rivers, freshwater streams in central Florida, and currently in the Gulf of Alaska. Broadly my interests are fisheries ecology and as my graduate career progresses I am drawn towards more quantitative methods. Since beginning at OSU I have been pursuing research on trophic interactions between Alaska's groundfish species and comparing ecosystem modelling approaches. More information about me and my research interests is available on my web page.

Linsey Arnold

Linsey Arnold

My research interests broadly involve the early life history of marine fish, the development of egg and larval stages pre-partum through settlement with a specific focus on the effect of maternal age and condition on egg and larval fitness characteristics. Previous research projects include a study of maternal effects in a deep-water rockfish species in the Gulf of Alaska and an experimental investigation into the combined influence of maternal effects and environmental stochasticity on anuran larvae. My current project is a bio-economic collaboration with funding from the Lenfest Oceans Program to evaluate so-called simple metrics for stock assessment. While maternal effects are not modeled explicitly, the simple metrics we are testing rely on the importance of age structure to the population dynamics of long-lived groundfish species. A project in development will combine experimentation with simulation modeling to quantify maternal effects at the individual level and the effect of age truncation at the population level under variable thermal regimes. With this project I plan to incorporate maternal effects and age structure into the larger ecological idea of resilience in order to model potential population response to the predictions of climate change.