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Potential Research Mentors and Projects for PEP 2020

**This list will be renewed and updated periodically, as more mentors/projects become available**


The purpose of the project list is to give applicants an idea of the kinds of projects PEP students may do in 2020. Potential applicants might also review recent projects students have completed in 2017-2019.

Note: The program cannot guarantee a direct project/mentor match. However, your interests will be taken into consideration.

The PEP staff and the research mentors will work together to match students in labs where they can be successful. In your application, you may indicate which mentors or projects interest you (in 150 words or less). If we offer you a spot in the 2020 program, we will take your interests into consideration. Soon after we extend offers (in mid-March) to participate, we will assign mentors and will put students in touch with their mentors to discuss potential projects.


Stace Beaulieu, Heidi Soski, and Rubao Ji

Mentors and Lab: Dr. Stace Beaulieu; Dr. Heidi Soski; and Dr. Rubao Ji

Institution/Department: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Biology Department

Research Interests: biodiversity; data provenance; deep-sea ecology; hydrothermal vents; marine invertebrates; ocean informatics; seafloor observatories

Potential 2020 Undergraduate Projects: Modeling biological-physical interactions in coastal ocean ecosystems. This may be of interest to a student who has some, and would like to gain more, computational experience. This project would involve and build programming skills.


Chris Sherwood

Mentor and Lab: Dr. Christopher Sherwood

Institution/Department: USGS Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center

Research Interests: Coastal oceanography and measuring and modeling sediment transport and coastal morphology changes

Potential 2020 Undergraduate Projects: “Remote Sensing and Modeling Coastal Climate Change” — Using imagery from drones or occupied planes combined with multi-view to make super-high resolution maps of beaches, dunes, and wetlands. These maps are used to evaluate changes caused by storms and as input to numerical models of morphological evolution, including coastal erosion. Students can choose from several topics using data from local beaches and wetlands or larger-scale projects on the US east coast. Learn more here.


Brian Stock

Mentors and Lab: Dr. Brian Stock

Institution/Department: NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center/NRC Post-Doctoral Fellow working in the NEFSC Resource Evaluation and Assessment Division

Research Interests: Developing statistical methods to improve our understanding and management of fisheries. Currently working with Dr. Tim Miller to extend population assessment models to incorporate environmental effects

Potential 2020 Undergraduate Projects: “Length-based assessment of a Nassau Grouper spawning aggregation in the Cayman Islands” – Making length measurements of fish from the laser caliper videos, with some basic analysis as time allows. More here, including potential research questions for 2020. Learn more here.


Kenneth Foreman

Mentors and Lab: Dr. Kenneth Foreman

Institution/Department: Marine Biological Laboratory/Semester in Environmental Science

Research Interests: Effects of nutrient loading and eutrophication in the coastal zone – especially shallow bays and estuaries that receive the majority of their nutrient inputs through submarine groundwater discharge.

Potential 2020 Undergraduate Projects: Study of groundwater biogeochemistry, nutrient cycling and nutrient contamination from wastewater on estuaries and coastal ponds.  Students will be involved in field and lab research that requires knowledge of basic chemistry. Learn more here.


Julie Huber

Mentors and Lab: Dr. Julie Huber

Institution/Department: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry

Research Interests: Marine microbiology, biogeochemistry & genomics; Subseafloor biosphere; Deep-sea hydrothermal vents; Deep-sea instrumentation; Astrobiology

Potential 2020 Undergraduate Projects: Work will focus on projects related to deep-sea microbiology, including anaerobic cultivation, microscopy, and molecular biology. Students are encouraged to visit the link above to learn more about research in the Huber lab.


Matthew Birk

Mentors and Lab: Dr. Matthew Birk

Institution/Department: Marine Biological Laboratory, Post-Doctoral Fellow

Research Interests: Mechanisms through which animals balance oxygen supply and demand; broadly interested in many aspects of cephalopod biology.

Potential 2020 Undergraduate Projects: Lab uses integrative approach that incorporates biochemistry, genetics, physiology, behavior, and ecology to gain a holistic understanding of cephalopods and their role in marine ecosystems.  Summer project will focus on investigating potential effects of hypoxia (low environmental oxygen) on visual processing and cephalopod camouflage behavior.


Meagan Gonneea

Mentors and Lab: Dr. Meagan Gonneea

Institution/Department: USGS Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center

Research Interests: The interface of land and sea; building new tools to address coastal hazards. Research focuses on how these coastal wetlands respond to stressors, such as sea-level rise, and land management decisions.

Potential 2020 Undergraduate Projects: Coastal wetlands provide a wealth of ecosystem services, including bird and fish habitat, storm surge protection and carbon burial, but are challenged by human management and dynamic environmental change, including climate change and enhanced nutrient loads. Potential projects range from biogeochemistry focused, such as sediment and water carbon cycling and methane emissions, to large scale data and GIS analyses. Students will learn wetland science field and laboratory techniques, gain experience in coding and GIS, while conducting research relevant to climate change and coastal wetland policy.


Matthew Charette

Mentors and Lab: Dr. Matthew Charette

Institution/Department: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry

Research Interests: Marine chemistry in the coastal and open ocean; use of natural and artificial radionuclides as tracers of oceanographic processes; remote sensing of coastal oceanographic processes using in situ sensors.

Potential 2020 Undergraduate Projects: “Hydrothermal Vents and Ocean Chemistry” – How do hydrothermal vents influence the chemistry of the deep ocean, and potentially help regulate Earth’s climate? This project will measure radium isotopes in samples collected from two cruises near hydrothermal vents of the southern East Pacific Rise. The student will measure radium isotopes via their radon decay products; project will provide experience in various radiochemical techniques, data reduction, and data interpretation using other measurements collected on the cruises. More on the Coastal Groundwater Geochemistry Lab here.


Anna Michel

Mentors and Lab: Dr. Anna Michel

Institution/Department: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering

Research Interests: Understanding of ocean chemistry and its role in the current age where human activity is significantly impacting climate, environment, and ocean health. My research focuses on the development of in situ optical sensors to achieve this goal.

Potential 2020 Undergraduate Projects: Lab is interested in developing new chemical sensing technologies for making measurements in the ocean and Arctic. We develop new sensors for gas sensing in the deep sea to coastal environments. Recently, we have also begun to explore our ability to make measurements of marine debris. Our lab is diverse with students interested in environmental chemistry, physics, computer science and engineering.


Adam Subhas

Mentors and Lab: Dr. Adam Subhas

Institution/Department: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry

Research Interests: all of the organisms that grow calcium carbonate shells in the ocean, and their relationship to the marine carbon and alkalinity cycles

Potential 2020 Undergraduate Projects: Lab is interested in on global solutions to the CO2 emissions crisis – 2020 summer project will examine the biological and chemical consequences to adding alkalinity to the ocean as a carbon sequestration strategy.  Project will involve seawater incubations, measurements of seawater inorganic carbon and alkalinity content, carbon isotopes, and biological community composition via flow cytometry. Student need not be familiar with all (or any) of these techniques at the beginning of the summer. Learn more here.


Lauren Mullineaux

Mentors and Lab: Dr. Lauren Mullineaux

Institution/Department: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Biology (Department Chair)

Research Interests: Ecology of benthic communities; Larval ecology; Deep-Sea biology; Population connectivity and resilience

Potential 2020 Undergraduate Projects: Lab studies the oceanographic and ecological processes that connect patchy populations and contribute to their resilience in the face of natural and human disturbance. Lab investigate how larvae of invertebrates disperse and recruit into seafloor communities.  Potential 2020 projects include: (1) analyze the recovery of a deep-sea vent community from a catastrophic eruption; (2) experiment in the laboratory on live larval responses to environmental cues; (3) explore benthic community persistence in a metacommunity model; or (4) conduct field studies on marine parasite behavior and transmission. Learn more here.


Heather Haas and Joshua Hatch

Mentors and Lab: Dr. Heather Haas and Joshua Hatch

Institution/Department: NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center, Protected Species Branch

Research Interests: collecting information from sea turtles, analyzing data, and building statistical and simulation models to better understand the ecology of sea turtles in our region. Ultimately we seek to provide the science needed to support sound sea turtle management plans.

Potential 2020 Undergraduate Projects: “Dive Profile Classification for Sea Turtle Ecology and Conservation” – Project will classify dive profiles obtained from satellite tags into meaningful categories using appropriate quantitative methods (e.g., unsupervised statistical learning algorithms). Once dives are satisfactorily classified by shape, a secondary objective will be to better understand the behavioral states of turtles that gave rise to those dive groupings. Learn more here.

Last page update: 27 Dec 2019 at 6:49 PM EST