FACULTY RESEARCH INTERESTS
Dr. Mark Borelli
Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Borelli's research interests are in Coastal Geology; Non-Cohesive Sediment Transport; Seafloor Mapping
Dr. Robert Bowen
School for the Environment, email@example.com
Dr. Robert Bowen’s research addresses the evolution of Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) practices. ICM is an emerging area of policy analysis which attempts to assess the development of management practices which respond to the environmental pressures of expanding resource exploitation and new, multiple and often competing human uses of coastal areas. Students working with Dr. Bowen may explore: The role of various regulatory mechanisms in the identification and reduction of public health risk from contaminated seafood; The impact of environmental contamination on the management and development of urban ports; and, development of urban ports; and, The influence of coastal environmental factors in the building of regional economic development strategies.
Dr. Jarrett Byrnes
Dr. Byrnes research focuses on the causes and consequences of complexity in nature. Dr. Byrnes is interested in how humans alter the diversity and interconnectedness of life on earth. Understanding how these changes alter the services that nature provides is a critical need as we watch ecosystem after ecosystem collapse. Dr. Byrnes studies these questions in the ocean because, let's face it, the sheer number and diversity of species in the oceans is astounding. In particular, undergraduates participating in research in the Byrnes lab will focus either on 1) drivers variation in ecological processes in New England salt marshes or 2) the links between community structure and ecosystem function in New England kelp forests (AAUS or equivalent certification required).
Dr. Robert Chen
School for the Environment, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Robert Chen’s research interests include 1) identification of sources and transformations of colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM) in the ocean, 2) real-time measurements of physical, chemical and biological parameters in near-shore coastal environments and watersheds with wireless sensor networks, 3) factors controlling water quality in coastal oceans, 4) carbon cycling in coastal ecosystems, and 5) development of effective education and outreach practices to integrate research and education. Undergraduate research opportunities exist for developing new instruments, ocean and watershed field work, chemical analysis with modern instrumentation, and educational research.
Dr. Alan Christian
Dr. Alan Christian’s research lab is interested in understanding fundamental and applied questions regarding the ecology of freshwater ecosystems with an emphasis on understanding the effects of global change drivers on freshwater genetic, species, and ecosystem biodiversity. Students working in his research lab receive broad training in field and laboratory techniques associated with freshwater ecology. Research projects in his lab range from 1) the effects of global change drivers on freshwater population genetics biodiversity, 2) the effects of global change drivers on freshwater species/community biodiversity, and 3) the effects of global change drivers on freshwater ecosystem biodiversity (e.g. habitat, nutrients, primary production, stream metabolism)
Dr. Ellen Douglas
School for the Environment, email@example.com
Dr. Ellen Douglas’ research has involved the analysis of regional to global scale hydrologic processes and the impacts of human water use (particularly agricultural irrigation) on the hydrologic cycle. Specific research activities include quantifying non-sustainable water use globally, identifying the role of water scarcity in social conflict in Africa, and investigating the impacts of moisture fluxes from irrigation on land-atmosphere interactions in India. At UMass Boston, she developed a research program that also includes sustainable water use and water management issues at the watershed to regional scale. Specific areas of interest include quantifying the impacts of agricultural irrigation on the global water cycle, estimating the impacts of climate change on coastal systems, and monitoring the effects of river restoration activities. Dr. Douglas has mentored undergraduates on projects ranging from groundwater flow on the property of Nantucket Biological Field Station, Mystic River GIS restoration models, an honors thesis investigation extreme precipitation in New England over the past 50 years, groundwater overuse in southern India, an international project on hydrology of the Spiti River Valley in the Indian Himalayas, and monitoring river restoration in a coastal stream in Massachusetts (Red Brook).
Dr. Allen Gontz
School for the Environment, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Allen Gontz’s research interest is in coastal geological evolution. Landscapes change over time based on the driving forces applied to the landscape and the nature of the resisting forces of the lithology and structure of the landscape. The actions of these changes lead to the development of characteristic sedimentological and stratigraphic signatures in the shallow subsurface that can be deciphered and dated. High-resolution shallow-earth geophysical methods can be employed to read the record of change in the subsurface. Research in his lab focuses on the investigation of changes to the landscape within the Quaternary that are primarily the result of changing sea-level and anthropogenic impacts.
Dr. Robyn Hannigan
School for the Environment, email@example.com
Dr. Robyn Hannigan’s research centers on studying past and future “Strangelove Ocean” phenomena, specifically changes in biomineralization during times of ocean acidification and low productivity. Research projects include 1) the formation of structure biominerals such as fish otoliths (ear stones) under high CO2 conditions, 2) reconstructing of environmental life histories using the chemistry of biominerals (whale baleen, terrapin shells, fish otoliths), 3) reconstructing ocean pH and ocean dissolved CO2 in ancient marine sediments using biomineral proxies (Permo-Triassic boundary, paleoclimate of the Boston Harbor), and 4) developing undergraduate research activities to broaden diversity in discipline and participation. Undergraduate research opportunities exist for students to reconstruct the paleoclimate of the Boston Harbor using fossilized biominerals including fish ear stones and teeth, reconstruction of the Permo-Triassic ocean chemistry using biomineral proxies preserved in rocks. Students will gain experience with fundamental analytical skills including mass spectrometry as well as depth of understanding of past, current and future coastal ocean chemistry.
Dr. Paul Kirshen
School for the Environment, firstname.lastname@example.org
In Dr. Kirshen's lab students will carry out assessments of social, economic, and environmental consequences of increased coastal flooding due to climate change in an area of the urban Northeastern USA using a variety of indicators. Students also will re-evaluate the indicators to test the effectiveness of various adaptation options. Student skills required to work in Dr. Kirshen's research group include basic GIS, quantitative, and writing skills and a lot of interest.
Dr. Zhong Ping Lee
School for the Environment, ZhongPing.Lee@umb.edu
Dr. ZhongPing Lee is interested in 1) how the light field changes in a natural environment (radiative transfer), 2) development of effective tools that use the light information to retrieve important environmental properties (remote sensing), and 3) application of remotely sensed products to study the ocean/Earth system. We also conduct various field measurements to study physical and bio-geochemical processes in the oceans, as well as using these “sea truths” to validate satellite products.
Dr. Karen Ricciardi
School for the Environment, email@example.com
Dr. Ricciardi studies optimization methods used in systems where input parameters are subject to variability. This is related to groundwater research in the area of remediation designing. Groundwater flow is dependent upon the hydraulic conductivity of the medium through which it flows. Unfortunately, hydraulic conductivity is very difficult to measure accurately. Dr. Ricciardi's research explores a novel method used to address the variability of hydraulic conductivity in determining optimal remediation designs. Dr. Ricciardi also has explored a new algorithm for determining global optimal solutions to complex numeric problems with multiple local minima.
Dr. Helen Poynton
School for the Environment, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Helen Poynton’s research focuses on applying genomics to better understand sub-lethal effects of environmental pollutants and uncover molecular biomarkers that can be used to detect environmental pollutants and understand their bioavailability. Her focus areas include: 1) Developing molecular biomarkers as detection tools for emerging contaminants including nanoparticles and use them to understand the bioavailability of nanoparticles in environmental matrices and 2) Using genomics to understand the molecular pathways affected by environmental pollutants including metals, nanoparticles and pesticides and relate them to whole organism or population level effects.
Dr. William Robinson
School for the Environment, email@example.com
Dr. William Robinson’s research addresses functional mechanisms in aquatic toxicology, particularly those processes involved in metal uptake, depuration, sequestration and internal transport. This work focuses on two groups of marine organisms - bivalve molluscs (mussels and clams) and tunicates (ascidians). His research group is investigating several mechanisms (physiological, biochemical and molecular) that bivalve molluscs and tunicates utilize in response to specific metals. Ongoing and past studies have addressed metal bioavailability, detoxification and the circulatory transport of metal ion complexes in both bivalves and tunicates. Current work also examines the uptake and internal sequestering of endocrine disrupting chemicals and the affect that ocean acidification will have on marine mussels.
Dr. Randi Rotjan
New England Aquarium, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Randi Rotjan’s research at the New England Aquarium focuses on various ecological processes governing marine ecosystem structuring. Many of these processes touch on areas of symbiosis, food webs and trophodynamics, behavioral ecology, and conservation biology. Since key ecosystem engineers (specifically foundation species) have a disproportionate influence on ecosystem structure, we focus on factors and processes that influence their performance. Dr. Rotjan research group uses exploratory observations combined with careful, manipulative experiments to discover the patterns and uncover the mechanisms guiding these dynamics. Specifically, they integrate field observations and lab experiments together with models to investigate factors that regulate the performance of marine ecosystem engineers and the cascading influence on ecosystem structure. Within this context, our research distills to 4 main themes: 1) Symbioses in key ecosystem engineers and foundation species; 2) Fish-coral interactions on tropical reef; 3) Behavioral ecology of marine organism; and 4) Conservation ecology in marine environments. Dr. Rotjan research program has been supported by working with numerous undergraduate interns through the prominent New England Aquarium internship program.
Dr. Crystal Schaaf
School for the Environment, email@example.com
Dr. Schaaf is working on the development and use of operational products from NASA's MODerate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MODIS) to monitor the Earth's environments from the Terra and Aqua polar-orbiting space platforms. She is a science team member for both MODIS and the VIIRS (Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite) sensor on board the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership platform (NPP is the precursor to the next generation of national meteorological satellites). Dr. Schaaf's current interests include modeling reflectance anisotropy and albedo and using remote sensing data to reconstruct and and monitor the reflectance characteristics of various land surfaces, including vegetation phenology and land surface change. More recently she has also been involved in the development and use of ground-based lidar systems to characterize biomass and vegetation structure.
Dr. Michael Shiaris
Biology Department, firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael Shiaris’ lab group studies genetic diversity and the roles of bacteria and yeast in the environment. REU fellows will conduct research in one of two areas. 1) the microbiome of the Eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica, or, 2) the ecology of Enterococcus bacteria in the environment. Enterococci are normal residents of the healthy human gut, but they can also thrive outside the intestines in nature. Because of their ability to readily exchange genes with other bacteria, they can also cause serious diseases by adding functions such as virulence and multiple antibiotic resistance to their repertoire of activities. Students will design experiments for the laboratory or field to answer questions about the genetic diversity and function of enterococci in the environment. They will learn and use microbiological, molecular, and bioinformatics methods to address these questions.
Dr. Michael Tlusty
New England Aquarium, email@example.com
Dr. Micheal Tlusty’s research at the New England Aquarium focuses on aquaculture, and the integration of new technological advanced into current production scenarios, analysis of disease looking at changes in host susceptibility as a result of changes in the environment, the production of fish for the pet trade, and leveraging large companies to improve the ecological footprint of seafood production. Current projects include: 1) the influence of increased temperature on the onset of shell disease in American lobsters, 2) rearing marine ornamental fish with extended larval periods; 3) ecological and economic sustainability of freshwater ornamental fisheries; 4) and advisory services to improve environmental friendliness of aquaculture produced seafood products. Dr. Tlusty’s research program has been supported by working with numerous undergraduate interns through the prominent New England Aquarium internship program
Dr. Juanita Urban-Rich
School for the Environment, Juanita.firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Juanita Urban-Rich’s research interests and focus is on coastal zooplankton distribution and their inputs to particulate and dissolved carbon cycles and on global environmental education. Zooplankton are an important trophic link to many commercial fisheries and to the North Atlantic Right Whale in Massachusetts Bay. In order to better understanding their distribution and grazing habits, she has research projects looking at coastal plankton distributions and the influence of the freshwater inputs on these communities. Additionally, she has found that zooplankton excrete a unique humic-like compound that can be detected using fluorescence spectrophotometry. Dr. Urban-Rich has ongoing research involving both field and laboratory work on the development and testing of a fluorometer to measure in situ zooplankton inputs to fluorescent dissolved organic matter (FDOM) is continuing in the Virgin Islands and in Massachusetts Bay.
Professor Jack Wiggin
Urban Harbors Institute, School for the Environment, email@example.com
Mr. Jack Wiggin is the director of the Urban Harbors Institute (UHI) at the University of Massachusetts Boston utilizes policy, scientific, planning, and management expertise to assist governments and communities address the complexities and issues associated with harbors and coastal areas. As a research institute at the university, UHI brings a comprehensive well-balanced and academic approach to providing expert advice on environmental problems and issues. The institute offers technical assistance and advisory services in fields such as urban planning, coastal and harbor planning, natural resource management, marine industry master planning, water transportation and geographical information systems. While UHI generally focuses on urban marine and watershed issues in New England, we have worked with governments, non-government organizations, and marine industry representatives throughout the US and internationally. In addition to teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in the School for the Environment at UMass Boston, Mr. Wiggin also has had numerous paid and unpaid interns work with him at UHI and has been an active mentor in the CREST REU program.
Dr. Meng Zhou
School for the Environment, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Meng Zhou’s research focuses on small and mesoscale physical processes and their effects on spatiotemporal variability of chemical and biological processes in aquatic ecosystems by using observation tools, numerical models, and mathematical theories. He is particularly interested in integrating observations, models, and mathematical theories with will lead to better understandings of the ecosystems and better ecosystem models. He is also interested in zooplankton population dynamics, aggregation behavior, and patch dynamics.