Current Students

R. Daniel Harris (PhD)


Daniel is interested in spatial interactions between ecosystem engineers and how small changes to these interactions could cause major ecosystem function shifts. He has 6 years of experience coordinating oyster restoration and living shoreline projects, which has lead to his current work studying oyster and Spartina interactions.

Rachel Smith (PhD)


Rachel is interested in understanding the mechanisms and effects of expanding ecosystem engineers. In her doctoral work, she is exploring how interactions between black mangroves and salt marsh species influence mangrove expansion success and invertebrate community composition. Previous work includes studies of community development in fouling communities in southeast Australia, effects of ocean acidification on larval oysters, and community effects of geoduck aquaculture in Washington State.


Alex Lee (PhD)

Alex is interested in community ecology and parasitology. Some of his previous work include investigating the nature and spread of invasive Spartina in San Francisco Bay salt marshes and the conservation genetics of an endangered hemiparasitic plant. He is co-advised with Michael Yabsley in the IDEAS program.

Jeff Beauvais (PhD)

Jeff is an ICON student interested in the impacts of coastal development on the ecological processes and integrity of salt marshes. He is also interested in understanding how social vulnerability might facilitate coastal development, and how this process feeds back to affect local communities.



Julie Blaze

Julie was a research technician in the Byers lab since January 2016.  She began grad school in Fall 2018. She is interested in community ecology.  Some of her previous work includes studying community dynamics in eelgrass beds, monitoring recovery of disturbed sandy shore habitats, and surveying migrating shorebird foraging behaviors.

Affiliated Graduate Students

Kaitlin Kinney (M.S., Ohio State University)

 Kaitlin examines the role of biotic resistance on the invasion of the southeastern USA by the porcelain crab, Petrolisthes armatus

Enjian Chen

Enjian is a Visiting Scholar working with the Byers Lab.  He is conducting experiments studying coastal plant species and their associated mycorrhizal communities.

Chelsea Crosby (M.S., Ohio State University)

Chelsea examines how learning affects foraging decisions of predators to include the novel invasive prey porcelain crab, Petrolisthes armatus, in their diets.

Undergraduate Students

Katie Maddox

She is a third year Ecology student who has been working with the lab since September 2014.  As a CURO fellow, Katie studied the impacts of an invasive alga on blue crab foraging behavior. 

Sydney Bourget

She is an Ecology student who has been working with the lab since September 2014.  As a CURO fellow, she is studying the effects of physical factors on infaunal species on oyster reefs.

Kat Clancy

She is an Ecology and Marine Science major who is working in the lab.  Kat is studying respiration rates of the marsh periwinkle, Littorina irrorata.

Clarissa Keisling

Clarissa, an Ecology student, has been working with the lab since Summer 2016 on a project studying oyster larval dynamics.  As a CURO fellow, she is studying the distribution of microplastics across an estuary.

Emma Dickinson

Emma is an Ecology and Music double major.  She is broadly interested in coastal ecosystems and community interactions.

Benjamin Edelman

Benjamin is a second-year Biology Major with a Marine Science emphasis.  His work in our lab will help map the biodiversity of oyster reefs across an estuary.

Adam Greer

Adam is a Genetics and Chinese double major, who is working with the lab measuring oyster larval dynamics.  He has been with the lab since Fall 2016.

Diane Klement

Diane is an Art and Ecology student working on a project studying the impacts of an invasive alga on marsh grass health.  She has been working with the lab since Fall 2016.

Kelly Mayes

She is an Ecology student helping with a project studying the impact of snail grazing on marsh grass health.  She has been with the lab since Fall 2016.

Katie O’Shields

Katie is an Ecology major interested in communicating science to broad audiences.  She is working in the lab studying the diets and grazing patterns of the marsh periwinkle.

Hend Rasheed

Hend is a third year Genetics major.  She is working on a project studying how temperature changes affect grazing in the Marsh Periwinkle, Littoraria irrorata.

Claire Sammons

Claire is an Ecology student, who has been helping in the lab since Spring 2017.  She is working on a project studying the interactions between marsh grass and mangroves.

Jackson Sanville

Jackson is a First year Biology Major at UGA.  He is working with us studying biodiversity on oyster reefs.

Camille Womack

Camille is helping our lab study oyster reef biodiversity on an estuarine scale. She is a third year Water and Soil Science Major.

Completed Graduate Students

John Meyer (M.S.,2005), 2006 NOAA Josh A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellow. Associate Director of Science Communications, College of the Environment, Univ. of Washington.

Blaine Griffen (Ph.D., 2007), Assoc. Professor, Dept. of Biology, Univ. of South Carolina.

Aaren Freeman (Ph.D., 2007), Assoc. Professor, Dept of Biology, Adelphi University, NY.

April Blakeslee (Ph.D., 2007), Asst. Professor, Dept of Biology, East Carolina University.

Laura Page (M.S., 2009), Middle school science teacher, Watertown, MA.

Irit Altman (Ph.D., 2009), Asst. Research Scientist at Boston University.

Wan-Jean Lee (Ph.D., 2012), 2012 NOAA John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellow.  Research Scientist with the National Climate Change Secretariat, Singapore.

William McDowell (Ph.D., 2014), Assistant Professor, Merrimack College.

Virginia Schutte (Ph.D., 2014), Science Communication Coordinator, Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON).

Jennafer Malek (Ph.D., 2015), 2016 NOAA John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellow. Communications and Policy Specialist, NOAA Marine Debris Program and Research Fellow, Marine Mammal Commission.

Carolyn Keogh (Ph.D., 2016), Lecturer and Undergraduate Coordinator at the Odum School of Ecology, Univ. of Georgia.

Alyssa Gehman (Ph.D., 2016), NSF postdoctoral Fellow, at Univ. of British Columbia with Dr. Chris Harley.

Linsey Haram (Ph.D., 2018), Postdoc at Smithsonian Environmental Research Center with Greg Ruiz and Jim Carlton.

Completed Post-docs

Lauren Pintor (2010), Asst. Professor, School of Environment and Natural Resources, Ohio State University.

Heidi Weiskel (2011), Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide (ELAW)

Safra Altman (2012), Army Corp of Engineers, Vicksburg, MS

Jayna Devore (2013), postdoc at the University of Sydney with Dr. Richard Shine.

Paula Pappalardo (2015), postdoc at the University of Georgia with Dr. Craig Osenberg.