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Danielle Keller

Grauduate Student

Justin Ridge

Graduate Student

Martin Benavides
Graduate Student

Shelby Ziegler
Graduate Student

Ian Kroll
Graduate Student

Danielle Keller
Graduate Student

Martin Benavides
Graduate Student

Shelby Ziegler
Graduate Student

Principle Investigator

Dr. Joel Fodrie is a Professor at the Institute of Marine Sciences (UNC-CH), where he studies the population and community ecology of coastal fishes, shellfish, seagrasses, and saltmarshes. Dr. Fodrie has worked along all three major U.S. coastlines, examining: 1) linkages between coastal habitat quality and fishery production; 2) landscape ecology; 3) novel approaches for habitat restoration; 4) marine population connectivity; and 5) effects of harvest pressure and climate variability on long-term population trends of fishery species (using multi-decade data sets). Dr. Fodrie earned his Ph.D. from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (2006) and was a post-doctoral researcher at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab. He has contributed 100+ peer-reviewed articles and manuscripts that explore mechanisms of population variability for fishery species. These articles appear in journals such as Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Ecology, and Bioscience.

Graduate Students


Dr. Rebecca Gaesser, 2018-2022 (UNC-CH); “Marine ecosystems through the lens of soundscape ecology: how biological processes, landscape structure, and anthropogenic activity affect spatiotemporal soundscape patterns”; Transitioned to: Knauss Marine Policy Fellow, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


Dr. Stacy Zhang, 2020-2022 (Post-doctoral researcher); Research Theme: “Environmental and anthropogenic drivers of decadal-scale changes in estuarine fish alpha and beta diversity from local to biogeographic scales”. Transitioned to: Assistant Professor, North Carolina State University


Dr. Joseph Reustle, 2020-2022 (Post-doctoral researcher, SPIRE program); Research Topic: “Interactions of larval population connectivity and microbiome development in oyster-reef communities”. Transitioned to: Assistant Professor, Hampton University


Dr. Jeff Plumlee, 2018-2022 (UNC-CH); “Trophic ecology of estuarine landscapes connected by large mobile predators”; Transitioned to: Post-doctoral researcher at Dauphin Island Sea Lab


Dr. Chris Baillie, 2022 (Post-doctoral researcher); Research theme: “Shellfish mariculture planning”. Transitioned to: Researcher at North Carolina Coastal Federation

Abigail Poray, 2010-2021 (Lab Manager), Abigail participated in many research projects and also performed critical administrative tasks related to lab safety, human resources, and data management

Dr. Amy Yarnall, 2016-2021 (PhD Student), Research theme: “Community structure and dynamics in estuarine seagrass systems across habitat configurations, environmental gradients, and spatial scales”; Transitioned to: Post-doctoral researcher with ORISE program

Jonathan Lucas, 2018-2021 (Masters Student); “Relative importance of substrate availability, recruitment, and post-settlement processes in determining oyster restoration trajectories across an estuarine salinity gradient”; Transitioned to: Research technician/lab manager, North Carolina State University

Dr. Shelby Ziegler, 2015-2020 (PhD Student); Research theme: "Effects of marsh landscape orientation and environmental setting on the habitat use and productivity of estuarine fishes". Transitioned to: Post-doctoral researcher at Moss Landing Marine Lab


Dr. Martin Benavides, 2015-2020 (PhD Student); Research theme: "Variability in coastal shark populations across multiple spatiotemporal scales". Transitioned to: Post-doctoral researcher at Smithsonian


Owen Mulvey-Mcferron, 2017-2020 (Masters Student); "Effects of landscape-scale oyster-reef restoration on nekton in a temperate estuary". Transitioned to: North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries Biologist

Dr. Jim Morley, 2017-2019 (Post-doctoral researcher); Research theme: “Ecosystem effects of shellfish mariculture”. Transitioned to: Assistant Professor at East Carolina University


Dr. Matthew Kenworthy, 2015-2019 (PhD Student); "Movement ecology and of large estuarine fishes"; Transitioned to: Post-doctoral researcher at Savannah State University 

Dr. Chris Baillie, 2018 (Post-doctoral researcher); Research theme: “Shellfish mariculture planning”. Transitioned to: Post-doctoral researcher at East Carolina University


Max Tice-Lewis, 2016-2018 (Masters Student); "Natural and anthropogenic drivers of oyster reef community dynamics"; Transitioned to: Oregon First Nations Oyster Biologist

Dr. Danielle Keller, 2013-2018 (PhD Student); "How the structure and spatial components of habitat affect estuarine communities"; Transitioned to: USACE Biologist

Dr. Justin Ridge, 2012-2017 (PhD Student; co-advised with AB Rodriguez); “Landscape connectivity influences growth and accretion in temperate biogenic reefs and adjacent saltmarshes”; Transitioned to: Post-doctoral researcher at Duke University

Dr. Ian Kroll, 2012-2017 (PhD Student); “Assessing estuarine-scale population connectivity and dynamics for the management of commercial marine fisheries”; Transitioned to: Scientist, NOAA Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR)


Dr. Michelle Brodeur, 2009-2016 (Masters and PhD Student); Research theme: “Consumers mitigate effects of heat stress and nutrient enrichment on eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) communities at its southern range limit” and “Interspecific competition and predation control euhaline oyster reef distribution”. Transitioned to: Communications Lead, North Carolina Coastal Reserve and National Estuarine Research Reserve

Dr. Lauren Yeager, 2013-2014 (Post-doctoral Researcher); Research theme: “Landscape ecology of NC seagrass meadows”. Transitioned to: Assistant Professor, University of Texas


Sara Coleman, 2011-2014 (Masters Student); “Effects of boring sponge on oyster soft tissue, shell integrity, and predator-related mortality”; Transitioned to: staff researcher with The Nature Conservancy, Rhode Island


Cole Castillo (UNC-CH) 2023; Transitioned to: UNC-CH undergraduate student
Noelle Keister (UNC-CH) 2023; Transitioned to: UNC-CH undergraduate student

Caitlin O’Brien (UNC-CH) 2022; Transitioned to: UNC-CH undergraduate student

Kayla Shotwell (UNC-CH) 2022; Transitioned to UNC-CH undergraduate student

Savannah Paliotti (NCSU) 2021-2023; Transitioned to: NCSU graduate student

Shayla Birath (UNC-CH) 2020-2021; Transitioned to: UCLA law student

Creed Branham (CoC) 2020-2021; Transitioned to: LSU graduate student

Savannah Swinea (UNC-CH) 2019-2020; Transitioned to: NEU graduate student

Ellie Kremer (UNC-CH) 2020; Transitioned to: UNC-CH undergraduate

Karli Meckler (UNC-CH) 2020; Transitioned to: UNC-CH undergraduate

Marianna Miller (UNC-CH) 2018-2020; Transitioned to: NCDEQ biologist

Grace Roskar (UM & FAU) 2019-2020; Transitioned to: Knauss Fellow

Mary Conroy (RWU) 2018-2019; Transitioned to: NEFMC biologist

Jade Danford-Klein (UNC-CH) 2019; Transitioned to: UNC undergraduate student

Cori Lopazanski (UNC) 2017-2019; Transitioned to: UCSB graduate student

Andrew McMains (UWM) 2018-2019; Transitioned to: NCDMF biologist 

Eliza Schlein (UVA) 2018; Transitioned to: NEU graduate student

Rich Mahoney (UWSP) 2015-2018; Transitioned to: UCF graduate student

Lauren Clance (UNC-CH) 2017-2018; Transitioned to: DISL Graduate student

Francesca Peay (UNC-CH) 2017-2018; Transitioned to: Cape Lookout National Seashore guide

Emory Wellman (GU) 2018; Transitioned to: ECU graduate student

Owen Mulvey-McFerron (Stockton) 2017; Transitioned to: UNC graduate student

Molly Bost (UNC-CH) 2016-2017; Transitioned to: UNC graduate student

Tessa Pfeifer (UNCW) 2017; Transitioned to: CofC graduate student

Lexie Weber (UNC-CH) 2017; Transitioned to: Researcher

Julie Geyer (Cornell) 2015-2017; Transitioned to: UNC graduate student

Carson Miller (UNC-CH) 2016-2017; Transitioned to: UNC graduate student

Quin Walker (UNC-CH) 2015-2016; Transitioned to: NOAA researcher

Mariah Livernois (NEU) 2014; Transitioned to: DISL graduate student

Gray Redding (UNC-CH) 2013-2014; Transitioned to: CBL graduate student

Stacy Zhang (UNC-CH) 2013-2014; Transitioned to: Duke graduate student

Laura Alexander (UDel) 2010-2014; Transitioned to: Scientist with NC Coastal Federation

Alexia Pool (URI) 2012-2014; Transitioned to: UNCW graduate student (in education)

Chris Baillie (UNC-CH) 2010-2012; Transitioned to: NEU graduate student

Kenny Namkoong (UNC-CH) 2012; Transitioned to: NCSU graduate student (in medicine)

Erin Voigt (St. Mary’s) 2011-2012; Transitioned to: SDSU graduate student

Sara Gutekunst (U Miami) 2011; Transitioned to: Undergraduate student

Josh Hancock (UNC-CH) 2011; Transitioned to: UNC graduate student (in accounting)

Sam Fuller (NCSU) 2010-2011; Transitioned to: United States Coast Guard Rescue Diver

Xan Chandler (UNC-W) 2010; Transitioned to: Undergraduate student

Olivia Rhoades (Brown) 2009-2010; Transitioned to: UC-Davis graduate student


Rachel Bouchillon, 2012 (UF)

Riley Brady, 2013 (USC)

Taylor Burns, 2014 (LUNO)


UNC-CH Undergraduate Independent Research (IE Field Site):

Ruslan Grigoriev, 2009

Allison Davis, 2010

Kelsey Ellis, 2011

Parker Ellis, 2012

Madelyn Roycroft, 2013

Danielle Doucett, 2014

Matthew Dwinell, 2014

Kayla Pehl, 2015

Marianna Miller, 2016

Lexie Weber, 2016

Lily Olmo, 2017

Connor Albretch, 2017

Savannah Swinea, 2018

EmmaLi Tsai, 2018

Rachael Rankin, 2019

Ellie Kremer, 2020

Karli Meckler, 2020

Logan Timm, 2021

Rebecka McMorris, 2021

Noelle Keister, 2022

Sophia Palmieri, 2022

Katrina Borgen, 2023

Abby Glazener, 2023

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