College of Science & Mathematics
Master of Science in Marine & Environmental Science
- Katie Baltzer - I received my B.S. in Marine Biology and General Biology with a minor in music in 2009 from Southwestern College in Winfield, KS. Although I am a small-town farm girl, I had the opportunity to study and research at the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology, the University of Notre Dame, and James Cook University in Australia focusing on a variety of subjects. After graduating, I visited friends around the world and began working as a microbiologist for a pharmaceuticals manufacturer. After about two years, I decided that it was not for me and it was time to pursue a graduate degree at UVI. While at UVI I am particularly interested in behavioral studies and the effects of toxins on marine organisms. In my free time I enjoy swimming, diving, hiking, music, and travelling around the world.
- Viktor Brandtneris
- Rosmin Ennis - I am from New Hampshire, but I got my B.S. in marine biology with a minor in oceanography from the University of Rhode Island. While in Rhode Island, I worked with chlorophyll and nutrients of Narragansett Bay in the Marine Ecosystems Research Lab at the URI Graduate School of Oceanography. My primary focus was the reduction of nutrients from wastewater treatment facilities in the Narragansett Bay watershed. I also had the opportunity to study abroad at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences. While in Bermuda, I worked with the nematocysts of upside down jellyfish and siphonophores. It was also there that I became more interested in coral reef ecosystems. Upon graduation, I continued working in the Marine Ecosystems Research Lab, but eventually shifted my focus instead to the effects of stress hormones on the development of larval summer flounder. I finally left Rhode Island and moved down to St. Thomas to start the MMES Program. I am interested in studying the impacts of water quality on coral communities.
- Howard Forbes - I was born on the island of St. Croix. I obtained a B.S. degree in Biology from the University of the Virgin Islands (St. Thomas). While at UVI, I was a MARC scholar, which afforded me the opportunity to conduct research at UVI as well as at other institutions such as Rutgers University. However, I did most of my research though with Dr. LaVerne Brown at UVI, where I was interested in determining if synergy could be exhibited when you fractionate ethno-medical preparations. Living in the Virgin Islands is ideal for the research interests that I have considering that there exists both anecdotal and documented literature on the numerous medicinal plants that are used here. I applied to UVI to the Masters in Marine Environmental Sciences Program to continue my research and further develop my understanding of Caribbean traditional medicine from both the perspectives of chemistry and natural resource management.
- Jon Jossart - Jon grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he earned his BS degree with a double major in History and Environmental Science from Wisconsin Lutheran College. While there, he was able to do freshwater research on Wisconsin’s lakes and streams, as well as travel around the world studying History, Archeology, and Marine Ecology. After graduation due to poor planning and impulsivity he ended up teaching English in Yinchuan, China, for a year before going to graduate school. Having done biological monitoring work in the Caribbean, and having heard about the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) at a Scientific Conference in Costa Rica, he decided that UVI would be an ideal place to pursue a master’s degree. He is earning a master’s degree to bolster his background in science, so he can conduct scientific research.
- Jennifer Kisabeth - Jen completed her undergraduate degree in 2012 at Coastal Carolina University with a major in marine science and a minor in environmental science. As an undergrad she greatly valued all of her hands-on learning experiences including numerous labs held in the marsh, at the beach, and on the water collecting and analyzing samples. While attending CCU Jen was able to travel to Discovery Bay, Jamaica once for a coral reef ecology course and a second time to assist a graduate student with lionfish research. Jen’s undergraduate research was on the covering response of Lytechinus variegatus as well as a senior thesis on the timing and intensity of Crassostrea virginica spat across a spatial and temporal scale. She decided to attend UVI after meeting a UVI graduate student in Discovery Bay. Jen wants to pursue a master’s degree because she would like to further her education and gather skills to help her succeed in her future careers. Jen’s current research interest is on stressors of Acropora palmata outcrops, including predation by Coralliophila abbreviata. In her free time Jen enjoys scuba diving, swimming, and camping.
- Maggie Rios - I graduated from Northern Arizona University with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies and a minor in Biology. I am originally from Southern California and have always had a love for all things marine. In 2010, I spent about five months in Monteverde, Costa Rica for a study abroad program in which I participated in an Internship with ProNativas, an NGO that is interested in doing educational outreach about the importance of native plant species in Costa Rica. I conducted a baseline study for the organization on the potential of invasive plant species in Monteverde. Through this opportunity, I was also able to participate in some other research opportunities that took me to the coast. I will be looking at the affects of human activity (boat engine noise) on the movement patterns of juvenile Blacktip sharks in their nursery habitats.
- Moriah Sevier - Moriah is the 2012-13 MMES student representative. Moriah Sevier grew up in the redwoods of Northern California. She moved to Santa Cruz California in order to attend Cabrillo Community College and University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC). Her studies were focused on temperate marine systems including kelp forests. She graduated in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science in two areas: Marine Biology and Ecology & Evolution. After graduation she spent three years working as an independent contractor, a SCUBA technician for UCSC, a mooring technician with Oregon State University, and as a laboratory technician at Cabrillo Community College. She also spent four months as a lab and field volunteer studying the effects of nutrient input in the coralline system for a PhD student in Curacao at the Caribbean Research and Management of Biodiversity field station. Moriah has decided to attend University of Virgin Islands (UVI) and enter the Masters of Marine and Environmental Science (MMES) program because it offers her the opportunity to further her understanding of warm water ecosystems. The beautiful island, small cohort size, fantastic professors, and the chance develop her own research project all influenced her decision to study at UVI. For her thesis she is interested in studying land sea interactions, specifically the relationship between gorgonian disease and anthropogenic inputs into the marine realm.
- Kayla Tennent - I am from St. Augustine, Florida…the “oldest city in the nation…besides the territories.” I received my Bachelor’s Degree from Flagler College, with a major in Education and a minor in Environmental Science. During my undergraduate research I worked on designing a conservation plan for Great White Shark (Carcharodon carcharias). I am currently working on publishing a paper on the documentation and distribution of Red Mangroves (Rhizophora mangle) as baseline data in northeast Florida. Before moving to St. Thomas, I taught elementary school and was the science coordinator for environmental science club. I absolutely love teaching science, but I am also very passionate about research and outreach. I enjoy conservation efforts, and being in the field. I came to UVI to gain more research experience, as well as to experience the culture of Caribbean. As a result of my research, I hope to fill research needs and make a positive change in U.S Virgin Islands. Because I try to spend the majority of my time of the beach and I am always picking up trash, I asked how much trash accumulates on our beaches and how persistent is it? That led me to investigate the prevalence or abundance of debris on beaches in St. Thomas, with hopes of starting an anti-littering campaign to raise awareness and ultimately decrease litter from beaches and oceans. In my free time, I enjoy snorkeling, free diving, hiking, photography, gardening, surfing, reading, camping, trying new foods, going to the farmers market, and traveling.
- Chris Settar '08 - Chris was the first graduate of the MMES Program. She defended her thesis, entitled 'Coral Reefs and Residents of the US Virgin Islands: A Relationship of Knowledge, Outdoor Activities and Stewardship' in April 2009. Her advisor was Dr. Teresa Turner. Since graduating Chris has been working as the Marine Stewardship Coordinator for the UVI Sea Grant marine Outreach Program. She can be contacted at email@example.com.
- Publication: Settar, C. and T. Turner. 2010. Coral reefs and residents of the US Virgin Islands: A relationship of knowledge, outdoor activities and stewardship. Rev. Biol. Trop. 58 (Suppl 3): 197-212
- Allan Bright '09 - Allan defended his thesis entitled 'The effect of swell-generated physical damage on disease prevalence and asexual reproduction in the coral Acropora palmata (Lamarck)' in July 2009. His major advisor was Dr. Rick Nemeth. Since graduating Allan has been working as a Research Associate at the NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center. He can be contacted at Allan.Bright@noaa.gov.
- Ian Lundgren '09 - Ian defended his thesis entitled 'Relation of abiotic conditions to hatch success for relocated Hawksbill sea turtle, Eretmochelys imbricata, nests at Buck Island, St. Croix, US Virgin Islands' in October 2009. His advisor was Dr. Paul Jobsis. Since graduating he has continued to work as a Biologist for the National Park Service on St. Croix. He can be contacted at Ian_Lundgren@nps.gov.
- Steven Hitt '10 - Steven defended his thesis entitled 'Quantifying the migration behavior and space use patterns of Haemulon sciurus and Lutjanus apodus across US Virgin Island seascapes' in August 2010. His major advisor was Dr. Rick Nemeth. Steven is now an Environmental Analyst with Kimley-Horn and Associates, a consulting firm in Florida. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Publication: Hitt, S., Pittman, S.J., Brown, K.A. 2011. Tracking and mapping of sun-synchronous migrations and diel use patterns of Haemulon sciurus and Lutjanus apodus in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Environ Biol Fish 92:525-538. DOI 10.1007/s10641-011-9875-2
- Publication: Hitt S., Pittman S.J., Nemeth R.S. 2011. Diel movements of fish are linked to benthic seascape structure in a Caribbean coral reef ecosystem. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 427: 275–291. doi: 10.3354/meps09139
- Eddie Parish '10 - Eddie defended his thesis in December 2010. His major advisor was Dr. Teresa Turner. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
- Gabriel Renchen '11 - Gabby defended her thesis entitled 'Assessing the impact of derelict fish traps in the US Virgin Islands' in April 2011. Her major advisors were Dr. Simon Pittman and Dr. Angela Dikou. She is working as a biologist for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. She can be contacted at Gabby.Renchen@MyFWC.com.
- Christina Colletti '11 - Christina defended her thesis entitled 'The effects of seascape structure on the spatial distribution of juvenile fish within Benner Bay Mangrove Lagoon, St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands' in April 2011. Her major advisors were Dr. Simon Pittman and Dr. Rick Nemeth. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Steve McCauley '11 - Steve defended his thesis entitled 'Understanding differences in recovering Diadema antillarum densities following mass-mortality in the Caribbean: Testing hypotheses in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands' in April 2011. His major advisor was Dr. Teresa Turner. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
- Bryan Legare '11 - Bryan defended his thesis entitled 'Juvenile Blacktip Shark (Carcharhinus limbatus) and Lemon Shark (Negaprion brevirostris) movements within two nursery areas of St. John, US Virgin Islands (USVI)' in November 2011. His major advisor was Dr. Rick Nemeth. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Chris Loeffler '11 - Chris defended his thesis entitled 'The interactions of depth, grazing and addition of nutrients on the abundance and distribution of Gambierdiscus spp.' in December 2011. His major advisor was Dr. Tyler Smith. Chris is continuing to do research on ciguatera poisoning at the FDA in Louisiana. Chris can be contacted at email@example.com.
- Shruti Arora '12 - Shruti defended her thesis entitled ‘Diversity of bacteria associated with the Montastraea annularis species complex across a seawater quality gradient in the United States Virgin Islands’ in April of 2012. Her major advisor was Dr. Marilyn Brandt.
- Sean Richardson '12 - Sean defended his thesis entitled ‘The effect of the exotic invasive plant Bromelia pinguin on the floristic composition of dry forests in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands’ in April of 2012. His major advisor was Dr. Alice Stanford.
- Sophia McKenzie '12 - Sophia defended her thesis entitled ‘Influence of biophysical processes on the distribution of coal communities in Hurricane Hole, St. John, United States Virgin Islands’ in November of 2012. Her major advisor was Nasseer Idrisi.
- Jeff Renchen '12 - Jeff defended his thesis entitled ‘Inter- and intra-population diversity of red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle L. ) in the U.S. Virgin Islands and northern Jamaica’ in April of 2012. His major advisor was Alice Stanford.
- Leslie Henderson '12 - Leslie defended her thesis entitled ‘The relative importance of nutrients and herbivory on benthic community structure: Nearshore vs. offshore reefs’ in April of 2012. Her major advisor was Angela Dikou.
- Rob Brewer '13 - Rob defended his thesis entitled ‘Caribbean hybrid Acropora prolifera viability restricted to shallow reef zones’ in February 2013. His major advisor was Tyler Smith. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Zachary Whitener '13 - Zach defended his thesis in April 0f 2013. His major advisor was Rick Nemeth. He can be reached at email@example.com.
- Elizabeth Clemens '13 - Liz defended her thesis entitled ‘Investigating the transmissibility of the coral disease, white plague’ in April of 2013. Her major advisor was Marilyn Brandt. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Alexis Sabine '13 - Alexis defended her thesis entitled ‘Impact of environmental factors on recovery of coral lesions in the U.S. Virgin Islands’ in April of 2013. Her major advisor was Marilyn Brandt. She can be contacted at email@example.com.
- LeAnn Conlon '13 - LeAnn defended her thesis entitled ‘Effects of climate change on coral reef benthic-pelagic coupling in a tropical coastal ecosystem: a theoretical study’ in April of 2012. Her major advisors were Nasseer Idrisi and Tyler Smith. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Brittney Honisch '13 - Brittney defended her thesis entitled ‘Chronic impacts of land-based sources of pollution on coral health in the U.S. Virgin Islands’ in April of 2013. Her major advisor was Tyler Smith. She can be contacted at email@example.com.
- Clayton Pollock '13 - Clayton defended his thesis entitled ‘Abundance and distribution of sea turtles at Buck Island Reef National Monument, St. Croix, USVI’ in April 2013. His major advisor was Paul Jobsis.
- Matthew Kamman '13 - Matt defended his thesis entitled ‘Macroalgal overgrowth on coral health across the U.S. Virgin Islands’ in May 2013. His major advisor was Tyler Smith.