Current Students

Cheyenne Jarman is a STEM Diversity Scholar and undergraduate student at UC Santa Cruz. Her senior thesis is focused on how meso-predators such as sea stars and crabs respond to and control sea urchin outbreaks. She is currently conducting a prey-choice experiment in the laboratory to evaluate how sea urchin gonad conditions does or does not increase their vulnerability to predation. Cheyenne has received numerous awards for her undergraduate research, including a prestigious STEM Diversity Scholarship, Friends of Seymour Cntr Student Research Award, Koret Scholarship, and a Women Divers Hall of Fame Scholarship. Cheyenne will apply for Ph.D. programs in Fall 2019, with the ultimate goal of becoming a research scientist.

Liana Beld is a Biology Major at UC Santa Cruz. She is currently engaged in the CENSUS project studying patterns in sea urchin recruitment around Monterey Bay. She is interested in pursuing research that focuses on cancer and coral acidification. After graduating, Liana plans to pursue graduate school and ultimately enter the STEM workforce.

Paula Kaltenbrunner is an Ecology and Evolutionary Biology major at UC Santa Cruz. She is currently conducting a senior thesis aimed at evaluating how algae diversity and cover influences she urchin grazing behavior (i.e., passive foraging on drift algae, or actively grazing on live, attached algae). Paula has analyzed hundreds of hours of photographic and videographic data collected from subtidal surveys using high-resolution photo quadrats.  

Maria Velazquez is a senior Environmental Studies Major at UC Santa Cruz. Maria is a recipient of the Norris Center's Webster Fellowship and is designing educational curricula focused on dynamic ecosystems for K-12 students that visit the Center. Maria is also conducting a senior thesis aimed at investing threshold density relationships between sea urchin density and algae cover. 

Dylan Meek is a senior Marine Biology Major. She is the undergraduate project lead for the CenCal Network for Sea Urchin Settlement (CENSUS). Dylan is developing a senior thesis based on data collected through CENSUS. Her thesis aims to evaluate the spatial coherence in the timing and magnitude of recruitment between sea urchins, crustaceans, bivalves, and gastropods.  After graduation, Dylan plans to go to graduate school to investigate the consequences of anthropogenic pollution and climate change in the marine environment.

Giovanna Sainz is a Marine Biology Major at UCSC. Giovanna has conducted hundreds of hours of data collection from still photographic imagery collected in the subtidal. She is currently developing her senior thesis proposal. 

Christina Langford is a Marine Biology Major at UCSC. She has been a volunteer in the RC lab for over a year and has participated in numerous project, including imagery analysis, sea urchin dissections, and CENSUS. 

Nick Scott is a second year Marine Biology student at UCSC. Nick is a volunteer on both my dissertation research and for the CENSUS project. 

Olivia Bott is a second year Marine Biology student at UCSC. Olivia is a volunteer on both my dissertation research and for the CENSUS project. She is currently developing a senior thesis proposal, which aims to characterize sea urchin diet preferences between kelp forest and sea urchin barrens habitats. 

Vanessa Valdez graduated from UCSC in 2017 with a B.S. in Marine Biology. She is currently volunteering in several RC Lab research project and leading community outreach education programs in the Monterey Bay Area. Vanessa plans attend graduate school in New Zealand in fall 2019. 

Isabella Bolstad is a second year Biology student at UCSC. She is a volunteer on both my dissertation research and for the CENSUS project. 

Former Students

Torrey Gorra completed her B.Sc. in Marine Biology at UCSC in Fall 2018. Her senior thesis examined outbreaks in populations of purple sea urchins around Monterey Bay, California, including relationships between urchin density, behavior, and kelp density between kelp forest and sea urchin barrens. Torrey is a recipient of a Future Leaders in Coastal Science Award, which supported her 14-week summer research position in 2017. Torrey's senior thesis received honor's from the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and is available below.

Sabrina Garcia completed her B.Sc. in Marine Biology at UC Santa Cruz in Spring 2018. Her senior thesis investigated the plasticity of sea urchin morphometrics in response to food limitation. Specifically, Sabrina evaluated how sea urchins change the shape and structure of their feeding apparatus (i.e., Aristotle's lantern) based on the cover of algae in kelp forest and sea urchin barren habitats. Sabrina is a recipient of a Future Leaders in Coastal Science Award, which supported her 14-week summer research position in 2017. Sabrina submitted a senior thesis based on her research, which is available below.

Celine de Jong completed her B.Sc. in Marine Biology at UCSC in Spring 2018.  During her time as an undergraduate, she co-developed the urchin recruitment monitoring initiative now known as CENSUS. After graduation, Celine conducted summer research in 2018 supported by UCSC's Giving Day program. Celine was a field technician and part of a larger project aimed at exploring mechanisms of kelp forest resiliency. She currently works as a global science and technology policy research assistant, focused on data management and security. She plans to pursue graduate school in the near future and continue to expand the ever growing development of interdisciplinary science applications in the STEM workforce

Casey Juliussen is a UROC Scholar and undergraduate student at CSU Monterey Bay. In 2018, Casey came to UC Santa Cruz for a 10-week summer research internship. He conducted an independent project focused on sea urchin population size-structure between kelp forest and sea urchin barren habitats. Casey presented his summer research at the 2018 Western Society of Naturalists Conference in Tacoma, WA.

June Leung recently graduated from UCSC double majoring in Marine Biology and Music (Clarinet). She is currently working as a lab volunteer to gain research experiences and also performing music at various institutions in the bay area. June recently applied for several graduate programs and intends to start her graduate career in Fall 2019. 

  • Instagram - White Circle
  • Twitter - White Circle

© 2019 by Josh Smith. All photos and content are my own.