Lab Alumni


Megan Ladds


Megan helped with the analysis of protistan predator samples from Antarctica. She is starting in the Fall of 2015 as a Ph.D. candidate at Stony Brook University.

Peggy Hughes


Lab technician extraordinaire, Peggy, spent the summer of 2009 establishing the phytoplankton cultures of the Menden-Deuer Lab.

Jessica Gilbert


Jessica worked in the lab for some time as a technician before joining the Peace Corps in South America. She has returned to the USA and is working towards a Ph.D. in environmental conservation.

Past Post-Docs

Françoise Morison

Francoise investigated the relationship between water column stratification, light and predator induced mortality rates and how these factors interact to affect the development of phytoplankton blooms and their dominant species. She completed a Masters, Ph.D. and post-doc in the lab and remains a collaborator.

Nigel D’souza


Nigel’s work at URI involved measuring lipids in heterotrophic dinoflagellates. In October 2017, he moved to the University of California, Santa Barbara to work with Uta Passow.

Gayantonia Franzè


The main focus of my research is to determine the temperature effects on the rates of heterotrophic protist population dynamics. These rate estimates are key measurements for global biogeochemical cycling models and studying how they are influenced by temperature is fundamental in a global warming prospective. Gayantonia moved to Norway, May 2019 to start a Read More …

Andreas Oikonomou


I am highly interested in researching the influence of protistan mortality processes on phytoplanktonic abundance and distribution, considering how predator-prey interactions and plankton behavior at the species level can enhance our understanding on the large ocean-scale ecosystem processes.

Darcy Taniguchi


In her time with the lab, Darcy investigated tradeoffs in planktonic food web interactions that influence the survival of different size classes of plankton.  

Shu Cheng


Shu completed her post-doc in the fall of 2014. She analyzed next-generation RNA sequencing data from different species of plankton. Shu accepted a post-doc at the University of Arizona with Bonnie Hurwitz.

Mary Kane

Mary successfully defended her Master’s thesis in April 2015 and returned to complete her Ph.D, she graduated in May 2019. Mary’s dissertation addressed the movements and spatial distributions of Antarctic krill in situ – even in winter – to decipher the role of krill in the Southern Ocean food web. Mary then became postdoctoral scholar Read More …

Michael Orchard


Michael completed his post-doc in September 2013, after working on viscosity effects on dinoflagellate swimming. Michael returned to the University of Hull to continue as a post-doc with Stuart Humphries.

Jason Graff


Jason completed his post-doc in June 2011. He then accepted a post-doc with Dr. Behrenfeld at Oregon State University.

Rudi Schuech


Rudi completed his post-doc in October 2012 and published, Going ballistic in the plankton: Anisotropic swimming behavior of marine protists. He then accepted a post-doc at the University of Hull.

Graduate Students

Mikayla Cote

Mikayla Cote joins the lab Fall 2019 as a masters student. Mikayla got her M.Sc. in Oceanography in June 2021. Mikayla joined Alumni lab member and Assistant Professor Elizabeth Harvey at the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture of the University of New Hampshire as a gradstudent.

Victoria Fulfer

Victoria joined the lab Fall 2019 as a PhD student. She has a background in deep sea microbial ecology and worked on microplastics ingestion by heterotrophic dinoflagellates.

Jacob Strock

Jacob joined the lab in August 2017. Jacob served as the Plankton Assistant during his first year (2017/2018) and received a Masters in Statistics with Prof.  Gavino Puggioni (URI) in 2020.

Mike Fong

Masters Graduate

Mike investigated how the concentration of microzooplankton affects their distribution and swimming behaviors. He successfully defended his Master’s thesis in May 2015.

Sean Anderson

Masters Graduate

Sean successfully defended his Master thesis in April 2016, after working on growth, grazing and starvation survival of heterotrophic dinoflagellates. His results were published in the Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology before accepting a PhD offer at Skidaway Institute of Oceanography.

Mary Kane

Mary successfully defended her Master’s thesis in April 2015 and returned to complete her Ph.D, she graduated in May 2019. Mary’s dissertation addressed the movements and spatial distributions of Antarctic krill in situ – even in winter – to decipher the role of krill in the Southern Ocean food web. Mary then became postdoctoral scholar Read More …

Samantha DeCuollo

Masters Graduate

Samantha started as a volunteer intern in the lab, assisting with a project on Akashiwo sanguinea. In December 2013, Samantha completed her Master’s Degree, (Separating the Effects of Temperature and Community Composition on the Magnitude of Heterotrophic Protist Grazing Rates in Narragansett Bay) and has since returned to teaching high school science.

Elizabeth Harvey

Ph.D. Graduate

In August 2012, Elizabeth successfully defended her Ph.D. dissertation, (The impact of predator-prey relationships on the formation of harmful algal blooms in Heterosigma akashiwo). She completed a post-doc at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute before accepting a faculty position at the University of Georgia, Skidaway Institute of Oceanography.

Henry Wladkowski

Masters Graduate

Henry successfully defended his Master’s Degree in April 2012, (Assessing Light Mediated Behavioral Response of the Dinoflagellate Akashiwo Sanguinea (Hirasaka) G. Hansen and Moestrup). He then accepted a position with the Rhode Island Technology Enhanced Science (RITES) program.

Heather née Hyewon Kim

Masters Graduate

Hyewon completed her Master’s Degree in September 2012, (Bloom Formation of the Toxic Raphidophyte Heterosigma Akashiwo in Response to Ocean Acidification). She has since resumed graduate studies at Columbia with Hugh Ducklow.

Caitlyn Lawrence

Masters Graduate

In August 2011, Caitlyn successfully defended her Master’s Degree, (Seasonal Protistan Grazing in Narragansett Bay) and published her results in MEPS. She then accepted a position teaching Oceanography.

William Day

In December 2010, William defended his Master’s Degree.

Undergraduate Assistants

Robert Zamoida

Robert is Rhode Island Born and Raised with a B.S. Biological Sciences, Biotechnology and Cell and Molecular Biology at URI in 2020/2021. He is a 20 Year USAF Veteran, Independent Duty Medic and a huge Star Wars Fan!

Sara Shapiro

Sara graduated with a masters degree in oceanography in December 2019. She worked with the lab on a number of projects including the LTER. Beyond being a great help in the lab Sara has shared her talent as a fantastic scientific illustrator.

Michael Sprague

Michael graduated from URI May 2019, he gained research experience by working with us in the lab.

Elizabeth Jardine

Elizabeth is part of a collaborative project with Rhode Island College and Dr. Sarah Knowlton. She worked in the lab in the summer of 2017, helping with temperature acclimation experiments.

Megan Schrader

Undergraduate Assistant

Megan is majoring in Marine Biology at URI. She analyzed Narragansett Bay phytoplankton samples using the FlowCam.

Albert Good

Undergraduate Assistant

Albert is majoring in Marine Affairs at URI and worked in the lab this past summer as an undergraduate researcher. He investigated community dynamics in Narragansett Bay using the FlowCAM.

Cynthia Michaud

Undergraduate Assistant

I am a double major in Marine Biology and Geological Oceanography at URI and currently working in the lab as an undergraduate researcher. I will be working on plankton growth and grazing dynamics.

Emily Bernstein

Undergraduate Assistant

Emily graduated from URI with a degree in Marine Biology in May 2014. She worked in the lab as an EPSCoR undergraduate researcher. She worked on the FlowCam to see if it could be used in combination with regular microscopy to count samples.

Nathan Goff

Undergraduate Assistant

In 2014, Nathan worked with Shuwen, Dr. Knowlton, Dr. Rothstein, and others to collect and anaylze nutrient data from Rhode Island Sound and surrounding waters in the hopes of creating a working coupled physical-biogeochemical model.

Justin Warrener

Undergraduate Assistant

Justin graduated from URI in May 2014. During his time in the lab he completed a project comparing growth and grazing rates of Oxyrrhis marina on Isochrysis galbana at varying temperatures.

Wynton Brewster

Undergraduate Assistant

Wynton completed his internship assisting in the laboratory in 2012 and is finishing his degree at URI.

Morgan Carter

Undergraduate Assistant

Morgan assisted with building a photographic library of the organisms cultured in the lab. He graduated from URI in May 2012.

Megan Ferguson

Undergraduate Assistant

As an undergrad in the lab, Megan completed several projects including growth rates of Ceratium lineatum under varying nutrient conditions. She was awarded a Stan Cobb Endowment for Independent Research, and an EPSCoR Fellowship. Megan graduated from URI in May 2012, and continued as a technician in the lab. She then accepted a position with Read More …

Nicole Millett

Undergraduate Assistant

Nicole graduated from URI in May 2011. She assisted with Heterosigma akashiwo and Akashiwo sanguinea growth and filming experiments with Elizabeth Harvey. Nicole went on to graduate studies at Horn Point Laboratory, University of Maryland.

Eric Muhlbach

Undergraduate Assistant

During his time in the lab, Eric assisted with various filming experiments with Oxyrrhis marina. He was awarded a Coastal Fellowship and presented a poster on his work, “Oxyrrhis marina behavioral mechanisms allow for preferential feeding on prey”, for which he was awarded a first prize. Eric graduated from URI in January 2011 and continued Read More …

Megan Nepshinsky

Undergraduate Assistant

As an undergrad laboratory assistant Megan completed a project on Scrippsiella trochoidea. Megan received a NOAA Hollings Scholarship and a Michael Metcalf Memorial Scholarship-Grant.

Noelle Tubbs

Undergraduate Assistant

Noelle assisted graduate student William Day on various heterotrophic protist filming experiments. After graduating from URI in May 2010, she went on to volunteer internationally in marine conservation programs and then to a graduate program at the University of Cape Town.

Ashley MacGuire

Undergraduate Assistant

Ashley assisted graduate student Elizabeth Harvey with grazing experiments of Favella ehrenbergii. After graduating from URI in May 2010, she went on to a graduate program at Northeastern University.

Kayla Murgo

Undergraduate Assistant

Kayla was awarded a Coastal Fellowship and was mentored by Elizabeth Harvey on salinity tolerance and filming of Heterosigma akashiwo. Kayla left our lab to study in Prague for a semester before graduating from URI. She is currently working at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

REU/SURFO Students

Amanda Herbst

Amanda joined the lab in June 2021 as a summer NSF SURFO (REU) student from California Polytech State University in San Luis Obispo majoring in chemistry (minor in dance). Amanda worked on underway Chl-a data from 6 NES-LTER cruises in order to post-calibrate the fluorometers onboard the Endeavor, which now allow us to study the Read More …

Andria Miller

Andria joined the Menden-Deuer lab as a summer NSF SURFO (REU). Andria conducted her research remotely, due to covid-19, by sampling water bodies near her home in Mississippi. Andrea will be a senior this fall at Jackson State University she is majoring in biology and has a love for studying the natural world.

Nicole Hammond

Nicole joined the Menden-Deuer lab as a summer SURFO student from Salisbury University. Nicole designed and conducted an experiment that will help us better understand plankton ecology.

Eva Lincoln

Eva joined the lab as part of the 2018 SURF (summer undergraduate research fellowship) program. She examined the effect of nutrient concentrations on protistan herbivory and growth rates and went on EN617 as part of the LTER research cruises. Eva is currently a student at Rhode Island College and was named a ‘Governor’s fellow’ for her Read More …

Anna Ward

Anne Ward joined the lab as part of the 2018 GSO/URI SURFO (summer REU) program. Anna examined turbulence effects on protistan herbivory grazing and growth rates. She also participated in the LTER cruise EN617. Anna is an undergraduate at the University of California San Diego. Her work was selected for presentation at the 2019 ASLO meeting in Read More …

Elizabeth Wright-Fairbanks

REU/SURFO student

Liza, a student at Middlebury College, Vermont, completed her 2016 SURFO internship working on the effect of copepod excretions on the growth and ingestion rate of the phagotrophic protist Oxyrrhis marina. Liza presented a poster at ASLO, February 2017.

Elizabeth Vomacka


Betsy, a student at St. Olaf College, completed her 2014 SURFO internship with Dr. Shu Cheng on RNA-seq analysis for Heterosigma akashiwo.

Caitlin Russell


During the summer of 2013, Caitlin, a student at Boston University, completed a SURFO internship working on ocean acidification effects on community populations of phytoplankton in Narragansett Bay. Caitlin presented a poster at ASLO, February 2014. She will be again joining the lab during an upcoming Antarctic cruise.

Rachel Hickcox


Rachel, a student at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, spent the summer of 2012 as a SURFO examining the growth rates of Heterosigma akashiwo in varying salinities. She presented a poster on this work at ASLO, February 2013.

Andrea Reis


Andi, a student at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, completed her 2011 SURFO internship with Caitlyn Lawrence on copepod grazing rates on whole community plankton assemblages of Narragansett Bay. Andi is pursuing graduate studies in marine science in Florida.

Anna Mosby


Anna, a student at Duke University, completed her 2010 SURFO internship measuring grazing rates on whole community plankton assemblages of Narragansett Bay. Anna presented a poster at ASLO, February 2011. Anna went on to graduate school and most recently completed a M.S. degree at VIMS.