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Meet our CSG Science Mentors

CSG Science Mentors are experts in the field who have agreed to engage in one-on-one discussions with CSG students about real scientific data, research, and science careers. The overarching goal of this program is to encourage CSG students to cultivate energizing and organic discussions with experts in a variety of fields from marine conservation to field research, policy, and economics. Our mentors make valuable contributions by inspiring young scientists and making meaningful connections between scientific research and society through these conversations.

Kristina CammenKristina Cammen

Kristina Cammen is a molecular ecologist with a broad interest in ocean health and marine conservation. Kristina uses genetic and genomic tools to improve our understanding of how marine species, particularly marine mammals, adapt to survive both natural and anthropogenic threats, including infectious pathogens, harmful algae, pollution, and climate change. Currently, as a postdoctoral teaching and research associate at the University of Maine, Kristina is conducting research on the population dynamics and disease ecology of gray and harbor seals in the Gulf of Maine.

LeAnn WhitneyLeAnn Whitney

Dr. LeAnn Whitney is a postdoctoral researcher at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences. She is interested in how nutrient availability and ocean acidification impact phytoplankton physiology and diversity. LeAnne uses molecular tools in combination with laboratory manipulation experiments and natural field observations to characterize metabolic responses among phytoplankton. For her Ph.D. research, she studied iron limitation in diatoms using transcriptomics and targeted gene expression methods. Currently, LeAnne’s research focuses on the response of picoeukaryotes to the interactive effects of phosphorus deficiency and ocean acidification.

Adam BaukusAdam Baukus

Adam Baukus is a Research Associate at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute whose work focuses on marine fisheries. He studies the distribution, abundance and behavior of a variety of finfish and shellfish species, such as cod, monkfish, herring and shrimp. Adam’s projects are interdisciplinary so he works with a diverse group of people to apply what they learn to things like fishing gear design in order to reduce bycatch, increase our understanding of ecological systems, and increase knowledge and opportunities in seafood marketing.

Steve EayrsSteve Eayrs

Steve is a conservation engineer at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI). Prior to this he was a commercial fisherman in Australia, Southeast Asia and the Middle East, before being appointed as fishing technologist at the Australian Maritime College. He joined GMRI in 2007. Steve works closely with fishermen to reduce the environmental impact of fishing activity, including reducing bycatch, seabed impact, fuel consumption, and GHG emissions. (See www.gearnet.org for examples.) He has extensive international research experience, including working with the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and is a judge on the WWF International Smartgear Competition. He has also written several books, book chapters, and scientific papers on fishing gear performance and their environmental impact.

Shelley BrownShelley Brown

Shelley is the education director for the ocean conservation organization, Sailors for the Sea. Their mission is to engage, educate and activate the boating community toward healing the ocean. A native Rhode Islander, Shelley has always been interested in the interactions between humans and our ocean. She received her doctoral degree from the University of Rhode Island, researching how increases in water temperature, hypoxia, and other anthropogenic-induced environmental conditions impact nitrogen cycling microbes in estuaries and coastal ecosystems. Following her PhD, Shelley pursued her passion of educating the public, particularly youth, about ocean conservation and health issues. Before joining Sailors for the Sea, she was a member of the education team on the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater and the program director of the Block Island Maritime Institute (BIMI). She hopes to inspire people to learn about and care for the ocean, so the are empowered to become the next generation of ocean stewards.

Bob HoustonBob Houston

Bob Houston is a Wildlife Biologist/GIS Specialist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Gulf of Maine Coastal Program in Falmouth, Maine. He has been with that office since 1992 and partners with a host of Federal, State, and non-governmental organizations to implement on-the-ground habitat protection and restoration in the Gulf of Maine watershed. Bob’s major responsibilities include GIS/data management and analysis for projects including coastal seabird restoration, habitat protection and New England Cottontail restoration/management. He has a diverse background including research experience in wetland/waterfowl biology and education at Sterling College, University of Maine and Cornell University. His daughter, Tessa, is a Semester 10 CSG alum.

Sara BenderSara Bender

Sara’s research is motivated by the overarching question, How does nitrogen availability affect diatom physiology and in turn, how does diatom physiology impact the marine environment through the drawdown of nitrogen?
During her graduate school tenure, she worked in the laboratory on individual diatom species, as well as embarked on several research cruises off of central California, Oregon, Washington and Vancouver Island to interrogate diatom nitrogen metabolism in diverse nitrogen regimes. Her goal has been to identify and quantify transcript abundances for molecular markers of diatom N metabolism, including responses to different nitrogen sources and responses to different degrees of nitrogen availability. Ultimately, these molecular markers will be used as part of larger metatranscriptomic datasets to monitor changes in diatom N uptake and N assimilation in the field.

Thomas WeberThomas Weber

Thomas Weber is a postdoctoral scholar researching ocean biogeochemistry in the Deutsch group at the University of Washington. Thomas uses mathematical models to understand and predict the interaction of marine microbrial ecosystems, ocean chemistry and the global carbon cycle. His PhD dissertation focused on the elemental composition of phytoplankton, and feedbacks between the sources and sinks of fixed nitrogen to/from the ocean. Current research interests include bacterial communities of the “dark ocean” and nitrogen cycling in oxygen minimum zones. Thomas is also passionate about the communication of science, both between peers and to the public, and is constantly trying to improve how he presents and writes about his research.

Alexis JacksonAlexis Jackson

Alexis Jackson is currently a senior associate with the International Ocean Policy team at the Pew Charitable Trusts in Washington, DC, where she focuses on coordinating engagements with RFMOs (Regional Fishery Management Organizations). Alexis is broadly interested in marine conservation and fisheries management of commercially important fish species. Her dissertation work focused on application of genetic data to fisheries management and marine policy impacting fishes that aggregate to spawn. In future work, she is interested in applying her knowledge of population genetics and fisheries management to conservation and management of other threatened species in both marine or terrestrial systems.

Janet GannonJanet Gannon

Janet Gannon’s career interests have always centered on two things: the fascinating world around us, and how people learn about it. These interests have taken her to very interesting places, including time spent teaching at the New England Aquarium in Boston, working at a wonderful charter school on the coast of North Carolina, researching dolphins in Sarasota, and now to Bowdoin. In addition to teaching the Biology of Marine Organisms and Evolution labs, she also spends summers at the Bowdoin Scientific Station on Kent Island (http://bowdoin.edu/kent-island/) and writes the blog An Ocean Lover in Maine (http://maineoceanlover.blogspot.com). Janet is CSG’s Summer Program Coordinator.

Emily TrentacosteEmily Trentacoste

Dr. Emily Trentacoste is the Outreach Coordinator for the Office of Aquaculture. Emily came to the office as the 2014 Knauss Marine Policy Fellow from California Sea Grant. She brings a background and experience in algal research, industry and policy. She received her MS in Marine Biology and PhD in Oceanography from Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego where her dissertation research focused on improving algal biofuels. She is using this background to help build an algae portfolio in the Aquaculture Office. Dr. Trentacoste is originally from the DC area and received her bachelor’s degree in Biology from Dartmouth College.

Emily WhistonEmily Whiston

Dr. Emily Whiston is a trained biologist with research experience in immunology, microbiology and mycology currently positioned as a senior scientist at Envirologix in Portland, Maine. Evirologix is a Portland company focused on the manufacture of immunoassay test kits used to ensure food safety, from seed to plant to grain handling and processing. Today, Envirologix monitors global issues in food production lifecycles, water quality and environmental safety, and is an innovator in diagnostic technology to address real-world problems. Emily received her doctorate working in the laboratory of John Taylor at U.C. Berkeley, where she worked on the computational gene expression and comparative  genomics in the mammalian fungal pathogen Coccidioides spp. At CSG, she’ll present an overview of where sequencing technology is now vs. where it was when Emily was in high school (release of the human genome project).

Eileen JohnsonEileen Johnson

Eileen Johnson is Program Manager and Lecturer for the Environmental Studies Program at Bowdoin College. She currently teaches two GIS based courses, Building Resilient Communities and GIS and Remote Sensing. She incorporates community based projects within her courses. Her students’ work has focused on inventorying farmland for conservation, working on supporting the development of a regional food council, identifying areas vulnerable to impacts of flooding and sea level rise, and examining social issues such as housing and hunger in the context of spatial analysis. She also teaches a GIS short course in the summer and supervises students working with local communities and nonprofits as part of a summer fellowship program. She is on the advisory board for the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust. Eileen holds a BS in Environmental Science and Education from Cornell University, a Masters in Regional Planning from the Unversity of Massachusetts, Amherst, a Graduate Certificate in GIS from the University of Colorado, Denver, and a doctorate in Ecology and Environmental Science from the University of Maine. She is also a certified GISP (GIS Professional). She lives with her husband in Bowdoin, where they have a 100 acre woodlot that they manage. She has two daughters, one who is currently a sophomore at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, PA, and her older daughter, an environmental engineer, who works for an energy company in Boston. Eileen’s interests are biking, cross-country skiing, and hiking. In her spare time, she enjoys mapping many of the cross-country trails in her town of Bowdoin.

Bryndan DurhamBryndan Durham

Bryndan Durham is a post-doctoral research associate at the University of Washington. She is interested in interactions among marine microbes, specifically, how microbes use organic compounds as metabolic currencies and signaling molecules to form the basis for different trading alliances. Oceanic primary production, carried out predominantly by unicellular phytoplankton, generates one of the largest reservoirs of carbon on Earth. About half of this fixed carbon is subsequently degraded by heterotrophic bacteria, a transfer that accounts for the largest flux of carbon through the ocean. The chemical makeup of this carbon pool is inherently complex, a product of the diversity of the hundreds of thousands of different planktonic organisms that make up seawater communities. Thus, compounds important in this trophic link are poorly known. Bryndan is currently using a combination of laboratory- and field-based measurements to study sulfonates and auxins in terms of their contribution to marine organic matter flux, their taxonomically driven spatiotemporal dynamics, and their roles in ecosystem interdependencies.

Serena DooseSerena Doose

Serena Doose currently works for the Gulf of Maine Coastal Program in Falmouth, ME and works on a variety of projects, such as implementing a state-wide stream temperature monitoring network, removing barriers to fish passage, and coordinating the Junior Duck Stamp program in Maine. A native of South Carolina she graduated from Furman University (’13) with a double major in Earth & Environmental Sciences and Asian Studies. In 2011, she worked for the Student Conservation Association (SCA) at the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge in Calais, Maine, working with waterfowl and upland game birds. After graduating, Serena started working full time for the US Fish and Wildlife Service, restoring diadromous fish habitat in downeast Maine.

Sandra LarySandra Lary

Sandra Lary holds a BS in marine science from Long-Island University Southampton Campus and for most of her career, she has worked on migratory fish and habitat restoration. Sandra has experience working in Alaska monitoring commercial fishing in the Bering Sea as a foreign fishery observer, working in an Atlantic salmon fish hatchery in Maine, restoring landlocked salmon and lake trout in the Great Lakes, and on river restoration in Maine to help diadromous fish, like sea-run alewife, blueback herring, and American eel. She primarily works as a project coordinator, to identify high priority projects; reach out to potential partners for a specific project such as towns, landowners, non-profit organizations to form a team to work together on the project; help design and plan the project, such as a dam removal or fish ladder construction or culvert replacement; identify funding sources and write grant proposals; help get the required permits, and then oversee construction of the project. She has also worked on a few saltmarsh restoration projects in Maine and is assisting on Maine Sea Grants Signs of the Season Phenology Program which tracks changes in the timing in nature, such as the time of year that species of flowers are blooming. Sea Grant recently added rockweed to the list of species to monitor in Maine. Here is their website: http://umaine.edu/signs-of-the-seasons/news-events/. Sandra has worked for a few different agencies doing this type of work including, NOAA, Maine Department of Marine resources, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service. Although her work is not research oriented work, she uses the latest science and research conducted by others to help inform decision-making for project planning. Sandra finds it very rewarding to work with a wide variety of people with different interests and skills to contribute to the process, working together toward a common goal, and to see a project completed through teamwork to benefit natural resources.

Sierra FletcherSierra Fletcher

Sierra is a co-owner of Nuka Research, a company dedicated to consulting on marine oil spill prevention and cleanup.  She has worked on and off with the company since 2004, while also expanding her career in other environmental policy areas. From 2004-2008, Sierra worked as a Project Associate and then Project Manager, during which time she played a key supporting role in Nuka Research’s response to the M/V Selendang Ayu oil spill, as an analyst for several high-profile arctic oil spill development projects, and oil spill contingency plan reviewer in Cook Inlet and Prince William Sound, Alaska. From 2008 through 2012, Sierra worked for the Boston-based Product Stewardship Institute, where she became Director of Policy and Programs working on policy initiatives and multi-stakeholder negotiations related to consumer product waste. During this time, Sierra provided occasional support to Nuka Research projects and taught an online negotiation course for the Consensus Building Institute in Cambridge, MA.

Sierra returned to Nuka Research as a Senior Project Manager in 2012, working on projects in Alaska and beyond. Her work focuses on policy research, technical writing, and facilitation, as well as helping to grow and manage the company. Sierra has represented Nuka Research at meetings and conferences from Anchorage to Halifax to Reykjavik.  Sierra’s educational background includes a B.A. from Yale University and a graduate degree from the Fletcher (no relation) School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. She lives in Portland, Maine with her husband, son, bicycle, and kayak.  She will share with the CSG community her expertise on the science, policy and law involved in managing and preventing oil spills in the marine environment.

Tegan MortimerTeganMortimer

Tegan is a marine ecologist with a broad interest in how the physical and biological environment impacts and influences marine populations. She is currently a senior naturalist with Boston Harbor Cruises and the New England Aquarium Whale Watch. Her research focuses on two separate but interconnecting strands, the interaction between humpback whale behavior and environmental variables, and the spatial and temporal distribution of plastic pollution in biologically important areas. She relies heavily on technologies such as GIS and cloud-based citizen science apps to not only collect data but to also educate the public about important marine issues. In 2015 Tegan was a member of eXXpedition and sailed from Senegal to Brazil on a 72ft sailboat to study marine plastic pollution in the equatorial Atlantic. She received a MSc in Marine Environmental Protection from Bangor University where her thesis focused on marine geology and mapping prehistoric sea level change for a small archipelago off the south-west coast of the UK and during her BSc at the University of St Andrews she focused on rocky shore ecology and population dynamics. Tegan’s other passions include plankton, whale poop, and glacial landscapes.

Heather Heenehan

Dr. Heather Heenehan has a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from the University of Connecticut. She received both her Master of Environmental Management and PhD in Marine Science and Conservation from Duke University, spending most of her time at the Duke University Marine Laboratory in Beaufort, NC. Heather is now a postdoctoral scientist in the passive acoustics group at NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center based out of Woods Hole, MA. She works in the Protected Species Branch where she continues her work using acoustics, or listening, to learn about marine animals. For her PhD Heather worked on Hawaiian spinner dolphins and during her time at NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center she has started working on the Caribbean Humpback Acoustic Monitoring Programm or CHAMP. In addition to her research, Heather is involved in many outreach efforts including various programs encouraging girls and women in the STEM fields. Heather is also passionate about science communication.