Jeff Beauvais (PhD)

Graduate Students

Jeff Beauvais (PhD)

Jeff is a 6th year ICON student interested in environmental justice issues around marsh access on the South Carolina coast. He uses a combination of quantitative (GIS, spatial statistics) and qualitative (semi-structured interviews, analysis of public records) methods to examine how tourism, real estate development, and land use change influence public and private access to estuaries.

Julie Blaze (PhD)

image of Julie Blaze

Julie Blaze (PhD)

Julie is a doctoral student in the Byers lab and has been working with the team since January 2016. 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.

R. Daniel Harris

image of Daniel Harris

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.


Camilla Nivison

Camilla Nivison

Camilla Nivison (PhD)

Camilla joined the Byers lab as a doctoral student in 2022. She is interested in how invasive species spread and affect the ecosystems in which they establish. Her current research investigates how warming ocean temperatures due to climate change induce range expansions of marine invertebrates, and if populations will persist at the leading edge of the range. Before joining the Byers lab, she taught high school biology and environmental science.

Matt Pierce (PhD)

Matt Pierce (PhD)

Matt is interested in the relationships between the biotic and abiotic factors in coastal salt marshes. He is currently focused on how organisms move within and between wetlands and their interactions with Spartina alterniflora. His previous work focused on zooplankton community composition and cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms in freshwater reservoirs.

Megan Tomamichel

image of Megan Tomamichel

Megan Tomamichel (PhD)

Megan is interested in investigating the relationships between parasites, the environment, human activity and host population cycles. Her research blends theoretical and predictive modeling with empirical experiments. Currently, she is conducting experiments on shrimp black gill disease in coastal Georgia to parameterize a model that simulates the population level effects of the disease. She is co-advised with Richard Hall in the IDEAS program.

Shelby Ziegler

image of Postdoc Shelby Ziegler holding fish

Shelby Ziegler

Shelby is interested in understanding how spatial and temporal variation in coastal habitats influences species interactions, energy flows, and ecosystem dynamics. For her postdoc, she is investigating how multiple stressors affect oyster reef structure, function and disease dynamics.


Current Undergraduates

Current Undergrads

image of Will in scuba gear

Will Ellis

Will has worked in the lab for several years on various projects. Presently his work addresses the joint effects of climate change and parasitism on host consumption

Elianna Fox

Elianna Fox

Elianna is a third-year student pursuing a career in Marine Biology. Since growing up in Hawai’i, she has always had a fascination with marine life and is excited to expand her knowledge through research in the lab.

image of Kate Moore

Kate Moore

Kate is a third year ecology major interested in aquatic ecosystems, and will be doing field work on Sapelo Island this spring.

Sarah Pina

Sarah Piña

Sarah is a second year Ecology and Ocean Science student interested in marine ecology, environmental justice, and ethnobotany. She is currently working on projects involving water access on the southeastern coast and oyster parasites. 

image of Kimani Smith

Kimani Smith

Kimani’s work centers on the question of what maintains a species’ range. She uses PCR and DNA sequencing to analyze the genetic variation between populations of the invasive crab, Petrolisthes armatus, along the coast of GA and SC.

image of student Carter Watson

Carter Watson

Carter examines parasite effects on behavior, especially the impact of infection on host movement.