I received my Masters of Science in Biology and Ph.D. in Integrative Life Sciences from Virginia Commonwealth University. My research focused on how amphibians (frogs, toads, and salamanders) respond to environmental stressors across life stages. I loved to travel and study different species and have worked in Costa Rica, Panama, and Spain. During my travels and studies, I developed a passion for understanding how diverse people interact and connect to biology, and how we can use this information to make biology a more inclusive discipline for everyone. I now research how biology undergraduates' interests and educational experiences shape their career choices and academic success with Dr. Sarah Eddy.
Alex Mercado Molina
I received my Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras. My goal with CREST CAChE is to determine whether an organism's physiological responses to environmental stress will regulate individual and population performance, taking into consideration multiple life-history traits. Working under the supervision of Dr. Joel Trexler, I will combine laboratory and field experiments with demographic modeling to evaluate the effects of physiological stress on 1) patterns of resource allocation, 2) demographic performance, and 3) population growth rates, using the Eastern Mosquitofish as a model species.
My research focuses on understanding the role of disturbance and resource availability on forest dynamics and utilizes remotely-sensed data to extrapolate observations at the plant and forest plot level to larger spatial and temporal scales. I am interested in questions that address how disturbance has shaped the vegetated landscape in the recent past and what changes we can expect in the future given global climate change predictions. I received my PhD in Earth Systems Science in 2015 from Florida International University.
Natalia Soares Quinete
I have received my Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry at Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. My research interests focus on assessing and understanding the sources, distribution, and fate of persistent organic pollutants and emerging contaminants in the different environmental and biological compartments and their potential health effects risks to humans and animals, addressing concerns regarding water quality and changes in the environment. To this end, I have been working on the development and improvement of analytical methods for the determination of several classes of pollutants, such as organochlorine pesticides, perfluorinated chemicals, wastewater tracers, hormones, pharmaceuticals and personal care products in diverse environmental matrices at trace levels, in order to address the present status of contamination, identifying, characterizing and assessing potential impacts to the ecosystem and humans.
Bryce Van Dam
I received my Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina in spring, 2018. My dissertation research concerned carbon cycling in estuaries, lakes, and rivers, with a focus on air-water exchange of CO2. We found that these aquatic systems frequently vary between sources of CO2 to the atmosphere, and sinks, driven by a suite of biological, geochemical, and physical factors. Carbon exchanges across south Florida’s coastal zone are similarly complex, due to its unique ecology and hydrology. At CREST and SERC, I hope to apply my background in biogeochemistry to better understand the fate of inorganic and organic carbon in Florida Bay and the coastal Everglades. I am particularly interested in the relative rates of seagrass calcification and productivity, and their impact on air-water CO2 exchange in Florida Bay.