Jane Carrick

Why did you choose to study / research marine science?

What else would anyone ever want to do with their career? I chose to study marine science because the ocean is full of species that are somehow both ancient but also constantly adapting to environments that would feel as foreign and harsh to humans as outer space. I just want the chance to try and disentangle some of the complexities of marine systems, especially those that are ecologically important like coral reefs. It’s exciting to think that now might the best time in history to study the ocean since we are in an age of accelerating technology that allows us to explore areas that have previously never been accessed by humans.

What is your research project about?

I study how hydrodynamic regimes influence the distribution and ecology of deep-sea reefs. Using benthic landers, which record time series of environmental characteristics like temperature, turbidity, water chemistry, and organic material, I look for patterns that can be related to ocean currents like the Gulf Stream, and how these patterns can influence potential benefits and/or stress conditions on a reef. I also look at small-scale flow patterns by running currents across coral skeletons in an experimental flume, which can help us understand things like food delivery and gamete export in different types of flow conditions.

Interesting fact about yourself?

I once had a short-lived career as a SCUBA instructor during college and I continue to dive regularly with over 600 dives under my belt.

Ruby Dener

Why did you choose to study / research marine science?

I chose to work in marine research because all my life I have admired the many ways people both recreate and make a living on the water. I wanted to make a career dedicated to maintaining and improving marine ecosystems for continued human utility and enjoyment. Through my variety of educational and work experiences, I have developed an affinity for environmental management topics that rely on collaborative efforts and the incorporation of various perspectives and agendas. I value and respect the involvement and balance of diverse stakeholders, and it is important for me to maintain and advance open lines of communication amongst scientists, resource users, and other stakeholders.

What is your research project about?

As the Davies Lab technician, I do not work on a single project. Rather, I am spread across all projects and research interests the lab has going at any one time. I help our students with the logistics and development of their research, especially pertaining to field work. I am also a scientific diver, and participate in any research diving needs our students and their projects have.

Interesting fact about yourself?

My favorite animals are those that look like evolution made a mistake… I am a big fan of Mola mola (Ocean sunfish) for this reason!

Philip Yang

Why did you choose to study / research marine science?

Growing up on Lake Champlain in Upstate NY, I always loved being on the water. When I was 12, I read most of the Clive Cussler ‘Dirk Pitt’ collection. The underwater world gripped me with adventure then, and still does now. As I progressed with an interest in science at Villanova University (BS Biology ’21), I found studying, protecting, and teaching Earth’s ecosystems extremely rewarding. In the Changley Lab at Villanova, I learned about mangroves, wetlands, climate change, human-environment interactions, and many pressing environmental issues of our time. My desire to make a difference led me to a Fulbright U.S. Student research grant (2021-’22) to study fisheries sustainability with USAID Fish Right in the Philippines. This experience cemented my desire to continue with marine ecological research. I now find myself as my own ‘Dirk Pitt’ at the Graduate School of Oceanography, University of Rhode Island starting a MS in Biological Oceanography.

What is your research project about?

I will be studying mesophotic and deep benthic communities in the Gulf of Mexico toexpand our fundamental ecological understanding of these systems, particularly in the broader context of how they are connected to pelagic biomass. Using this research to inform and apply better management, conservation, and restoration practices will undoubtedly serve our oceans, world, and us.

Interesting fact about yourself?

I love playing basketball – so much so that I volunteered as a practice player for three (-1 for COVID-19) years on Villanova Women’s NCAA Basketball Team. I enjoy hiking, boxing, cooking, and reading. I also like to dabble in many different outdoor activities. I am a big proponent of ArcGIS and StoryMaps, so much so that I’ve made a few for myself: https://arcg.is/0Pj1v9 and https://arcg.is/040mvD.

Kristofer Gomes

Why did you choose to study / research marine science?

My scientific interest has always been focused on the understanding of how organisms interact and are shaped by their environment, particularly at the molecular level. During my graduate degree I was fortunate enough to participate in a marine research cruise, where I was exposed to the effort and interdisciplinary collaboration that goes into understanding our world’s oceans. From that day forward I have continued to become more enamored with marine research, the complex questions it helps to answer, and the community of researchers that has been built around it.

What is your research project about?

My research is focused on understanding the conditions that initiate toxic harmful algal blooms (HABs) within Narragansett Bay, utilizing two autonomous buoy platforms to collect high resolution environmental data. These toxic HAB events can have detrimental effects to shellfisheries within Rhode Island, as shellfish that consume toxic algal cells are not safe for human consumption. An improved understanding of the driving factors of these blooms will provide the foundation for forecasting of these events to minimize their impacts on the local economy, and human health.

Interesting fact about yourself?

Before going to graduate school, I worked as a veterinary technician and am still a huge animal lover with two cats of my own. In my free time I enjoy competing with friends in both fighting games and tabletop games.

David Nadeau

David is a graduate student studying deep-sea lander technology and is funded by NOAA.

Why did you choose to study / research marine science?

Throughout my life I have lived on the ocean. Many of my earliest memories involve being by the sea, whether I am on the beach with friends and family or turning over rocks at low tide to watch the crabs scuttle away. My life and hobbies reflect the fact that I have been raised on the water, and from an early age I knew that I wished to understand the complexities of our oceans on a deeper level. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Ocean Engineering from The University of Rhode Island in 2022, and will be pursuing a Masters Degree in Biological Oceanography at The Graduate School of Oceanography, URI.

What is your research project about?

The research project I will be working on is focused on enhancing our understanding of mesophotic and deep benthic communities to further progress how we can help achieve restoration, conservation, and management of these lesser known communities in the Gulf of Mexico.

Interesting fact about yourself?

In my free time I enjoy fishing, surfing, kayaking, and spearfishing with my friends. Away from the surf I enjoy working out, hiking, and working with computers.

Sarah Davis

Sarah is a graduate student studying microplastics and is funded by NOAA and the USGS.

Why did you choose to study / research marine science?

The ocean is a life-sustaining resource for humankind, and as the sink for most anthropogenic waste, it is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of pollution. I’m interested in learning more about the sources, movement, and fate of plastic pollution within our planet’s marine areas and helping protect those habitats most at risk. As a former professional science educator, I’m passionate about engaging local communities in hands-on science research and facilitating environmental literacy in coastal areas.

What is your research project about?

My research focuses on building robust assessments of microplastics in Narragansett Bay and Rhode Island’s freshwater resources, including conducting extensive field work and managing laboratory processing. My field methods include seasonal manta trawl surveys, pump filter system sampling, and event-responsive grab sampling. In addition, I am undertaking experimental trophic transfer work to better understand the movement of plastics through coastal food webs.

Interesting fact about yourself?

I won a betta fish at a carnival in 2nd grade and it lived for 8 years. R.I.P. Sushi – gone but never forgotten.

Andy Davies

Welcome to our research group website! I am an ecologist with a background and active research career in the marine environment. I mostly work on reef formers, organisms that build structures that influence the surrounding environment.

Andy in recent years.

I first got into marine biology when I did my undergraduate degree in the Scarborough Campus of Hull University. Even from a young age, I had always been fascinated by our oceans, and it seemed like a logical choice (after a decision not to pursue medicine, genetics or chemistry). I started my PhD straight after my undergraduate, with only a short summer as a rescue diver/Dive Master.

Me and Dom at UG Graduation in 2001 when I thought it was funny to add captions to everything.

My PhD, somehow I managed to get one, was on interaction between the large brown alga Ascophyllum nodosum, the environment and limpets at Queen’s University Belfast with Profs. Christine Maggs and Mark Johnson (now elsewhere). Asco is still one of my most favourite things and my PhD was an absolutely incredible experience. I learned and toiled over manipulative experimentation, remote sensing, geospatial analysis and modelling. These skills allowed me to progress on to the next stage in my career.

Field work in Strangford, 2002.

I undertook several post-doctoral positions at the Scottish Association for Marine Science with Prof J. Murray Roberts (now elsewhere), focussing on deep-sea habitats, principally Lophelia pertusa. Something of a step-change in logistical difficulty when compared with Asco and limpets, I have now spent over a decade working in the deep ocean. The technical challenges and breathtaking species never cease to amaze.

A younger version of me in 2006 on the RV Pelagia, BIOSYS research cruise. Hours of hopper-camera.

Since those early days, I have progressed and now hold a Senior Lectureship in Marine Biology at Bangor University’s School of Ocean Sciences. I continue my research into both intertidal and deep-sea ecology, and have contributed to our knowledge of species distributions, technological/computational approaches, experimental ecology and so on.

With my most recently graduated PhD students (Martyn Kurr, Newcastle University and Laura Bush, Fugro) in 2016.

I am a profoundly deaf cochlear implant user, fully oral and also a BSL user. In recent years, I have acted as a deaf role model for the National Deaf Children’s Society, and volunteer on many events with the NDCS during the year. I am also on the Welsh NDCS Advisory Committee.