Active Lab Members
Jamie Vaudrey, Ph.D. – Research Faculty
Ph.D. 2007, Oceanography, University of Connecticut
B.A. 1993, Biology with a Philosophy minor, Wellesley College
Vaudrey received a B.A. in Biology with a minor in Philosophy from Wellesley College, MA. She worked at The Newfound Harbor Marine Institute and Seacamp in Big Pine Key, FL for three years; finishing her tenure there as the Intern Coordinator. Jamie then moved to Oregon and worked as the Oregon Area Manager for Science Adventures, a science education company. Jamie completed her Ph.D. in Oceanography at the University of Connecticut in 2007. She worked as a Postdoctoral Associate on two separate projects through UConn, one on seagrass in Long Island Sound and one developing an ecosystem model of hypoxia in Narragansett Bay. In 2010, Jamie started her current position as Research Faculty with the Department of Marine Sciences, University of Connecticut.
Her research interests are in the area of ecosystem dynamics in the coastal zone, specifically in the effect of land-use on the coastal environment and how anthropogenic changes to the landscape may change our coastal ecosystems. She is specifically interested in the relationship between human activities and expression of eutrophication in large systems (Narragansett Bay, Long Island Sound) and small embayments of these larger systems. Jamie has worked on modeling the relationship between nitrogen input and hypoxia in Narragansett Bay and on developing a model relating nitrogen load to trophic status in Long Island Sound embayments. She also has an interest in seagrass systems as indicators of a desirable state of water quality and inputs to coastal systems. She has been involved with a variety of seagrass projects throughout New England, including assessing genetic diversity of eelgrass, evaluating restoration projects, and developing a model to assist with the siting of restoration projects.
Vaudrey is Co-Chair of the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program’s (NBEP) Science Advisory Committee, Secretary for the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation’s (CERF) Governing Board, and the UConn lead on the process to establish a National Estuarine Research Reserve in Connecticut, working with her counterpart, Kevin O’Brien, at Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). Vaudrey serves on CERF’s Broadening Participation Council, Coordinated Global Research Assessment of Seagrass System (C-GRASS) Working Group, and contributed to the Connecticut Governor’s Council on Climate Change (GC3) on the Working and Natural Lands Working Group – Wetlands Subgroup. Vaudrey is a member of the Long Island Sound Study’s (LISS) Science and Technical Advisory Committee, Narragansett Bay Estuary Program’s (NBEP) Science Advisory Committee, DEEP’s Niantic Nitrogen Workgroup, and the LISS Water Quality Workgroup. Jamie served as the President of the New England Estuarine Research Society (NEERS) from 2012 – 2018 and as an Affiliate Society Representative to the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation’s (CERF) Board from 2013 – 2015; as well as serving as the Scientific Program Chair for the CERF 2017 conference. Jamie is also involved with local community-based monitoring groups as an advisor (Save the Sound, CUSH, SE*CRES) and recently completed a project assessing the status of community-based monitoring throughout Long Island Sound.
Jo-Marie Kasinak – Ph.D. Graduate Student
M.S. 2013, Biological Sciences, Auburn University
B.S. 2011, Biology, Sacred Heart University
Jo-Marie joined the Vaudrey lab in 2018 and is currently completing her Ph.D. in Oceanography at the University of Connecticut while maintaining her position as a faculty member in the Biology Department at Sacred Heart University, Fairfield, CT.
Jo-Marie’s research interests include ecology, conservation biology and restoration ecology. She has worked primarily in aquatic habitats, both freshwater and marine. Her dissertation work is focused on comparing ecosystem services in restored vs naturally occurring marshes.
Johann Heupel – Undergraduate Student in the Department of Marine Sciences and Maritime Studies, University Scholar
Johann joined the lab in 2020 to begin working on a University Scholar project examining the impact of railways restrictions on salt marsh function. He is involved with the estimation of seaweed and seagrass biomass in Mystic Harbor/River and Norwalk Harbor, the analysis of elemental composition (%C, %N) of macrophyte samples from the Niantic River Estuary and has been assisting Kasinak by working on the analysis of marsh sediment to determine carbon sequestration rate in restored marshes.
Jennifer Bustamante – Undergraduate Student in the Department of Marine Sciences
Jennifer joined the lab in 2021. She is involved with the estimation of seaweed and seagrass biomass in Mystic Harbor/River and Norwalk Harbor, the analysis of elemental composition (%C, %N) of macrophyte samples from the Niantic River Estuary and has been assisting Kasinak by working on the analysis of marsh sediment to determine carbon sequestration rate in restored marshes. Jennifer is also providing field support to Johann Heupel in his project to examine the impact of railway constriction on salt marsh habitats.
Past Lab Members
Graduate Students – Major Advisor
Thesis: “Nutrient Dynamics of Floating Seagrass Wracks in Greater Florida Bay.”
Rachel conducted a study to determine the contribution of uprooted, floating seagrass mats to the nutrient subsidies of Florida Bay. Her work also estimated nutrient shedding from seagrass mats from a) a series of dark, aerated incubations of mats and from b) time-dependent weight analysis of decomposing mats.
Graduate Students – Graduate Committee Member
Justin Eddings, University of Southern California, M.S. in Geographic Information Science And Technology, 2012
thesis – “Geographic Information Systems Eelgrass (Zostera marina) Habitat Restoration Suitability Model.”
major advisor: Karen K. Kemp
Diana Lancaster, University of Connecticut, M.S. in Oceanography, 2014
thesis – “Recruitment Patterns of the Fouling Community on Eelgrass in Long Island Sound.”
major advisor: Robert Whitlatch
Michelle Fogarty, University of Connecticut, Ph.D. in Oceanography, 2018
dissertation – “Air-Sea Momentum, Heat, and Carbon Dioxide Fluxes in Shallow Coastal Ecosystems,”
major advisor: Melanie Fewings
Veronica Rawlinson, University of Connecticut, M.S. in Oceanography, 2020
thesis – “Sources and Fluxes of Reactive N in a Southern New England River.”
major advisor: Julie Granger
Kristine (Erskine) John, City University of New York, Ph.D. in Earth and Environmental Sciences, 2021
dissertation – “A Geospatial Habitat Suitability Model to Determine the Spatial and Temporal Variability of Ulva blooms in Jamaica Bay, New York.”
major advisor: Rebecca Boger
Christina Menniti, University of Connecticut, M.S. in Oceanography, 2021
thesis – “Assessing the Importance of Variability in Oxygen Concentrations and Horizontal Fluxes in Western Long Island Sound.”
major advisor: Michael Whitney
Lauren Barrett, University of Connecticut, M.S. in Oceanography, in progress
major advisor: Penny Vlahos
Shannon Jordan, University of Connecticut, M.S. in Oceanography, in progress
major advisor: Craig Tobias
Kimberly Gallagher, Ph.D. in Oceanography, University of Connecticut
project: Development of a QAPP Template, “Evaluation of Current Citizen Monitoring Efforts and Recommendations for Developing a Cohesive Network of Support for Monitoring Long Island Sound Embayments.” 2011-2013, LISS & NEIWPCC
Undergraduate Research Advisees
Jennifer Dootz, 2012; UCONN Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship grant (SURF)
Amanda Dostie, 2014; UCONN IDEA grant (imagine / develop / engage / apply)
Amanda Dostie, 2016; Independent Research (6 credits)
Shannon Jordan, 2019; Independent Research (3 credits)
University Scholars and Noyce Scholars
The University Scholar Program is one of the most challenging and prestigious programs for undergraduates at the University of Connecticut. Up to 30 Scholars may be chosen in a year; with Scholars completing their project during their last three semesters at UConn.
Amelia Hurst, 2020; Co-advisor on a team of four advisors
Johann Heupel, 2021; Lead Advisor on a team of three advisors
The Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship program was supported through National Science Foundation grant funding and was a joint program offered by UConn Neag School of Education and the UConn Department of Marine Sciences. Marine Science faculty provided opportunities for the Scholars to conduct summer research, contributing to their development as STME educators.
Yvonne Sinclair, 2016
Brandon Ahl, 2017
Jacob Mikullitz, 2018
Research Technicians (with a degree)
Adam Chlus, B.S.; 2012
Melissa Cote, B.S.; 2013
Jennifer Dootz, B.S.; 2013
Michael Guyot, B.S.; 2011-2012
Kimberly Gallagher, Ph.D.; 2011-2012
Corey Leamy, B.S.; 2014 – 2016
Veronica (Ortiz) Tanguay, M.S.; 2012 – 2016
Rachel Perry, B.S.; 2013
Rachel Perry, M.S.; 2016
Annita Alvarado, B.S.; 2018
Jennifer Wozniak, B.S.; 2018
Undergraduate Research Technicians
2010: Steven Auscavitz, Chelsea Roy
2011: Joshua Carter, Adam Chlus, Jennifer Dootz, Christopher Kunz, Marissa Mackewicz, Michelle Slater
2012: Adam Chlus, Jennifer Dootz, Leigha Krize, Marissa Mackewicz
2013: Amanda Dostie, Rafeed Hussain, Leigha Krize, Corey Leamy
2014: Joel Corso, Amanda Dostie, Corey Leamy, Kelsey Olguin
2016: Jennifer Wozniak
2017: Annita Alvarado, Jennifer Wozniak
2018: Annita Alvarado, Lissa (Elisabeth) Giacalone, Vanessa Thornberg, Jennifer Wozniak
2019: Lissa (Elisabeth) Giacalone, Shannon Jordan, Vanessa Thornberg
2020: Elisabeth Giacalone, Shannon Jordan
2021: Jennifer Bustamante, Johann Heupel