PEOPLE

LAB MEMBERS

Principal Investigator: Dr. Jennifer Smith

Jennifer Smith

smithj@ucsd.edu

Jen is a coral reef ecologist with primary expertise in benthic communities (marine plants, corals and other invertebrates). Her primary interests are in determining how various physical and biological processes affect the structure and function of marine communities. Jen has been interested in determining how human impacts affect or alter marine communities. Currently Jen and her students are working on understanding how local stressors such as pollution, overfishing or the introduction of invasive species affect coral reefs. Jen’s lab is also working to determine how global stressors associated with climate change such as warming or ocean acidification will alter reef species. Much of the research in the Smith lab is focused on marine conservation and restoration of degraded habitats and often involves multidisciplinary activities. Jen and her students are actively working to develop effective management strategies for coral reef communities around the world.
Dr. Jennifer Smith Curriculum vitae

Dr. Jennifer Smith Google Scholar Page and Research Gate

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Post Docs


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Postdoctoral Scholar: Dr. Gal Dishon

gdishon@ucsd.edu

Gal has studied various aspects of aquatic photosynthesis since 2007, including phytoplankton and their interrelation with different light climates (MSc., Bar-Ilan University), corals and their photosymbionts, and microalgae performance in aquaculture systems (PhD., University of Haifa). Gal also believes that environmental education is key to building a better world, and put that into practice as the scientific director of the Ecological Greenhouse (Ein Shemer, Israel) where he mentored young students in environmental responsibility and scientific thinking. His interests in sustainability, algae cultivation, and environmental awareness all align in his current postdoctoral research which aims to optimize and industrialize the cultivation of seaweed that may help reducing methane emissions produced by the cattle industry. Gal moved to San Diego in June 2019. He is married to Tamar and father to three amazing kids. He enjoys biking, hiking, spending time with his family, and learning to surf.

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PhD Students


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PhD Student: Adi Khen

akhen@ucsd.edu

Adi graduated from UCSD in June 2014 with a BS in Environmental Systems and a minor in Spanish Literature. She previously volunteered for the Smith Lab and now, as a PhD candidate, she is interested in how coral reefs are responding to global climate change. She is using a time series of permanent photoquadrats taken by Dr. Jennifer Smith over a 10-year period on Palmyra Atoll, in the remote Central Pacific, to measure bleaching, recovery, growth, and mortality in common coral taxa over time. Additionally, she is using these images to look at the abundance of algae and other benthic organisms in the context of heat stress. Adi is passionate about using art to communicate science, and she makes digital illustrations of marine life in her spare time. She also enjoys taking care of all of the lab “pets.”

Check out her blog! adlysia.wordpress.com

 

 

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PhD Student: Daniel Conley

d1conley@ucsd.edu

Daniel Conley is a PhD candidate studying coral behavior and photo-physiology in the Smith Lab. Prior
to starting his PhD, Daniel received a BA in Japanese language and Literature and a BS in Biological
Sciences with a minor in Theatre Arts from the University of Pittsburgh. He then went on to receive an
MAS in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation and an MS in Marine Biology from Scripps Institution of
Oceanography. Daniel primarily focuses on experimental designs which are completed in a laboratory
setting. To this end, he has started and is currently maintaining a coral farm to supply his experiments
with specimens. Daniel is interested in what makes corals behave the way that they do and how those
behaviors influence how we observe them. This is to better inform the field of remote sensing where the
goal is to understand what is happening on the surface of the Earth from space using satellites.

 

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PhD Student: Orion McCarthy

omccarth@ucsd.edu

Orion graduated from the University of Maryland in May 2015 with a BS in Ecology and Evolution and a minor in Geographic Information Systems. His interest in conservation drew him to study abroad in Australia at James Cook University, where he got involved with coral research. Since then, Orion’s research interests have focused primarily on the intersection between ecology and marine conservation. He has conducted applied research related to fisheries management and coral reef resilience while at the International Pacific Halibut Commission and the World Wildlife Fund, respectively. More recently, he worked as an Ocean Policy Fellow at the Meridian Institute, a DC based non-profit that works to design collaborative processes to address environmental policy challenges. Now at Scripps, Orion is interested in studying how coral reefs change over time in response to disturbance events. Outside of the lab, Orion enjoys making pottery, going to the beach, and exploring sunny San Diego.

Selected Publications:

Harris, JL, E Estradivari, HE Fox, OS McCarthy, GN Ahmadia (2017). Planning for the future: Incorporating global and local data to prioritize coral reef conservation. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 27 (S1), 65-77. [pdf]

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PhD Student: Dani McHaskell

dmchaske@ucsd.edu

Dani started her academic career at Mt. San Antonio college later transferring and graduating from Cal Poly Pomona with a BS in Biology- zoology option and a minor in French. Prior to graduating, her interest in animal behavior led her to an REU at Rutgers University Marine Field station determining settlement cues for the larval stage of the Atlantic horseshoe crab. She went on to earn a MS degree in Biology at Cal Poly Pomona continuing her undergraduate research in determining the feeding rates of the black sea hare when offered brown macroalgae common in southern California while also completing long term monitoring surveys with the Multi-Agency Rocky Intertidal Network (MARINe). As a PhD student, she is interested in how the native algal assemblage in southern California may be affected by invasive macroalgae with particular interest in preserving native kelp species. To relax, Dani enjoys taking Hip-Hop dance classes, reading, tide pooling, snorkeling and rolling in sand with her dog, Tiramisu.

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Master’s Students


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BS/MS Student: Madelin Jimenez-Andersen

msa005@ucsd.edu

Madelin is a Master’s Student in the BS/MS Marine Biology program at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Madelin graduated from UCSD with a BS in Marine Biology in 2018 and first became interested in studying seaweed during Dr. Jennifer Smith’s phycology class. Madelin researches Sargassum horneri a non-native, invasive brown alga that has spread throughout Southern California’s native giant kelp forests. Madelin conducts experiments manipulating temperature and nutrients to understand how giant kelp and invasive Sargassum horneri respond to El Niño events, and the implications this may have for Southern California’s kelp forest ecosystems. Madelin also conducts local field work documenting Sargassum horneri within San Diego’s kelp forests. In her free time Madelin enjoys surfing, skateboarding, and playing music.

 

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BS/MS Student: Jonny Charendoff

jcharend@ucsd.edu

Jonny is a Marine Biology Master’s student in the BS/MS contiguous program and graduated in 2019 with a B.S. in Marine Biology from UCSD where he volunteered in Jennifer Smith’s lab. Jonny is using large-area imaging techniques to follow patterns of herbivory on the reef by parrotfishes to track what those fishes are eating and how their grazing patterns direct benthic succession. Jonny is interested in the potential for reef herbivores to aid in recovery of reef communities following bleaching events. Jonny also works for the Shore Station lab at SIO to maintain a long-term ocean monitoring time series. In his free time, Jonny enjoys diving, rock climbing, and taking care of his aquarium.

 

 

 

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BS/MS Student: Hannah Resetarits

hresetar@ucsd.edu

Hannah is a Master’s student in the contiguous B.S./M.S. program at Scripps Institution of Oceanography studying marine biology. Before graduating from UCSD in spring 2019 with a BS in marine biology, Hannah became interested in seaweed aquaculture when she started volunteering in the Smith Lab, working with the cultivation of edible algae. That path brought her to the master’s program where she is currently studying Asparagopsis taxiformis, a unique alga that has the potential to help mitigate methane production in cows. Hannah is currently conducting experiments to determine the optimal conditions in which to grow the seaweed. In her spare time, Hannah can be found surfing the waves at Scripps, backpacking around Southern California, or petting the nearest dog.

 

 

 

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MS Student: Marie Diaz

mad001@ucsd.edu

Marie is a Master’s student utilizing large scale photoimaging techniques to study Diadema antillarum density thresholds and their effects on the recovery potential of degraded coral reefs in the Caribbean.  Marie graduated from UCSD in 2016 with a BS in Marine Biology. As an undergrad, she volunteered in the Smith and Sandin labs working with large-scale imaging techniques to quantify benthic composition on coral reefs.  As a volunteer, Marie found a passion for research and science communication. After graduating, she worked for Reef Environmental Education Foundation, as their Invasive Species Program Manager, educating and engaging volunteers in invasive lionfish mitigation efforts.  She now works for San Diego Coastkeeper as their Marine Debris Coordinator, where she strives to connect San Diegans to hands-on environmental stewardship opportunities and marine debris prevention strategies. In her free time, Marie enjoys surfing, painting, and playing with her giant golden retriever, Maverick.

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MS Student: Bella Doohan

idoohan@ucsd.edu

 

Bella is a Master’s student studying the rocky intertidal ecosystem using large scale digital imaging technology. She graduated from UCSD in 2017 where she was a volunteer in Jennifer Smith’s lab while earning her BS in Marine Biology. In the years since graduating she has focused her career on conservation in the form of outreach and education. She has worked abroad for a marine conservation organization in Madagascar, and locally as an educator for Birch Aquarium. She is interested in studying local ecology in order to support conservation and education efforts. In her free time, Bella loves to surf, watch sunsets, and pet other people’s dogs.

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Staff Researchers


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Lab Manager & Staff Research Associate: Sam Clements

 

smclemen@ucsd.edu

Sam graduated from UCSD in 2012 with a B.S. in Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution and a minor in Studio Art. She completed her M.S. research in the Smith lab in 2015, where she studied the functional roles of herbivorous fishes on coral reefs of Maui. In addition to her current role as the Smith Lab manager, Sam oversees the Scripps Ocean Acidity Real-time (SOAR) Monitoring Program. She also assists with a variety of projects, including the 100 Island Challenge, as a coral reef benthic scientist identifying coral, algae, and other benthic invertebrates. In her spare time Sam enjoys painting, yoga, and competitive sandcastling.

Selected Publications:

Kelly, ELA, Y Eynaud, SM Clements, M Gleason, RT Sparks, ID Williams, JE Smith (2016).  Investigating functional redundancy versus complementarity in Hawaiian herbivorous coral reef fishes.  Oecologia 182 (4). [pdf]

 

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Staff Research Associate: Brant Chlebowski

bchlebow@ucsd.edu

Brant’s primary project interest is sustainably growing food from the ocean and expanding algae aquaculture in the United States. He completed a BS in Environmental Systems in 2008 at UCSD and a MAS in 2018 from SIO. His current science communication projects include the Scripps Coral Garden installed in the center of the Scripps campus which utilizes succulents to evoke a coral reef environment. The project highlights the scientific visualization tools utilized by the 100 Island Challenge and Smith Lab to conduct coral reef ecology studies. Additionally, Brant co-founded and manages the science film series SALTY CINEMA at SIO which connects the public, scientists and storytellers via public film & panel speaking events. Previously, Brant worked in start-ups with roles in business development, marketing, and communications. He returned to work with SIO in the business development office supporting Scripps teams in the Triton Innovation Challenge and is now staff in the Smith lab.

 

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Volunteers

  • Ashley Pries
  • Brooke Denney
  • Chelsea Eckhart
  • Conor Elliot
  • Elise Gonzales
  • Ella Kim
  • Emily Bornhop
  • Faith Huang
  • Giulia Luerti
  • Jack Ewing
  • John Carson
  • Kailey Ramsing
  • Kaniela Zhen
  • Lauren Cho
  • Lizzie Raphaels
  • Peter Pham
  • Will Schneider

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Past Members


 

Postdoctoral Scholars

  • Dr. Emily Kelly (2018)
    -Currently a Postdoctoral Fellow with Stanford’s Center for Ocean Solutions and World Economic Forum’s Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution
  • Dr. Ryota Nakajima (2018)
    -Currently a Principal Investigator at JAMSTEC (find his website here)
  • Dr. Nichole Price (2014)
    -Currently a Principal Investigator at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences
  • Dr. Andi Haas (2013)
    -Currently a Principal Investigator at NIOZ Royal Institute for Sea Research and Utrecht University

 

PhD Students

  • Dr. Abigail Cannon (2019)
  • Dr. Amanda Carter (2018)
    Currently a NOAA Sea Grant Knauss Fellow 
  • Dr. Michael Fox (2018)
    Currently a Postdoctoral Scholar at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute
  • Dr. Levi Lewis (2016)
    Currently a Postdoctoral Scholar at UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory
  • Dr. Maggie Johnson (2016)
    Currently a Postdoctoral Scholar with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
  • Dr. Emily Kelly (2015)
    -Currently a Postdoctoral Fellow with Stanford’s Center for Ocean Solutions and World Economic Forum’s Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution
  • Dr. Jill Harris (2015)

 

Master’s Students

  • Corinne Amir (2019)
    Currently employed at JIMAR 
  • Christina Jayne (2018)
    Currently employed at DAR Honolulu 
  • Gideon Butler (2016)
  • Sam Clements (2015)
    Currently Lab Manager & Research Associate in the Smith Lab at SIO
  • Molly Gleason (2013)
  • Susan Kram (2013)
  • Clinton Edwards (2013)
    – Currently a Ph.D. student at SIO with Dr. Stuart Sandin

 

Research Staff

  • Kelsey Miller (2019)
  • Niko Kaplanis – Research Associate (2017)
    – Currently a Ph.D. student at UC Santa Cruz
  • Clinton Edwards – Research Associate (2016)
    – Currently a Ph.D. student at SIO with Dr. Stuart Sandin
  • Susan Kram – Lab Manager & Research Associate (2016)
  • Tiffany Teng (2013)
  • Currie Dugas – Lab Manager (2011)
  • Jackie Tran – Research Assistant (2011)

 

Past Volunteers

  • Alyssa Cohen (2019)
  • Erin Hollander (2019)
  • Jilian Goguen (2019)
  • Sabrina Phan (2019)
  • Claire Kosinski (2019)
  • Sarah Romero (2019)
  • Ryan Hur (2019)
  • Kristina Dizon (2019)
  • Emily Lever (2019)
  • Shania Schull (2018)
  • Katya Reshatoff (2018)
  • Julie Kring (2018)
  • Karina Arzuyan (2018)
  • Will Schneider (2018)
  • Chloe Kotik (2018)
  • Matthew Pawinski (2018)
  • Amanda Leu (2018)
  • Michelle Loewe (2018 – MAS Student)
  • Kelsey Miller (2018 – MAS Student)
  • Michael Carlson (2018)
  • Cassie Paumard (2018)
  • Sara Borchers (2018)
  • Michelle Prieto (2018)
  • Cynthia Zhang (2017)
  • Jessica Glanz (2017)
  • Mario Gaytan (2017)
  • Ellis Juhlin (2017)
  • Maurizio Martinelli (2017 – MAS Student)
  • Marelle Arndt (2017)
  • Alexandra Reich (2017)
  • Spencer Breining-Aday (2017)
  • Mackenzie Brandt (2017)
  • Annika Vawter (2017)
  • Carolina Carpenter (2016)
  • Ellie Williams (2016)
  • Stephanie Lee (2016)
  • Nathalie Staiger (2016)
  • Aaron Keohane (2016 – MAS Student)
  • Amelia Scharp (2015)
  • Temur Imam (2015)
  • Macey Rafter (2015)
  • Mallory Morgan (2015 – MAS Student)
  • Lenell Sagastume (2014)
  • Jennifer Le (2014)
  • Bella Doohan (2014)
  • Garrett Stewart (2014)
  • Alex Neu (2014)
  • Laurence Romeo (2014 – MAS Student)
  • Carolyn Kim (2013)
  • Elena Perez (2013 – MAS Student)
  • Conner Holland (2013)
  • Erika D’Andrea (2013)
  • Eric Engel (2013)
  • Daniel Conley (2012)
  • Krista Catelani (2012)
  • Sarah Urata (2012)
  • Ashley Cunningham (2012)
  • Zoe Dagan (2012)
  • Daniel Coffee (2012)
  • Abigail Cannon (2012)
  • Jennifer Bone (2012)
  • Sierra Basegio (2011)
  • Portia Seautelle (2011)
  • Rachel Graham (2011)
  • Grace Koyama (2011)
  • Ellen Umeda (2011)
  • Rachel Levin (2011)
  • George Balchin (2011)
  • Kevin Moses (2011 – REU Student)
  • Karen Dunleavy (2011)
  • Avantika Sinha (2011)
  • Rebecca Soloway (2011)
  • Shino Ogawa (2010)
  • Javier Cuetos-Bueno (2011- MAS Student)