Postdoctoral Fellowships:


Neus Campanya i Llovet              

Ocean Frontier Institute, Module E: Ecosystem Indicators for a Changing Ocean

Project Title: Response of higher trophic levels to bottom-up controls in Labrador food webs

Project Description: Bottom-up controls such as temperature, light and nutrient availability regulate marine food webs through changes on primary producers and productivity, which will be transmitted to the higher ends of the food web, including the abundance and distribution of valuable fisheries resources consumed by humans. By understanding linkages among plants-consumers-predators (food web) we can identify sensitive components and develop intuitive indicators of food web dynamics in a changing ocean, particularly for remote environments where access and equipment limit sampling.


Ph.D. Candidates:

Alessia Ciraolo                                                   

CHONe Project: Project 2.1.3 Hypoxia and cumulative impacts on seafloor ecosystem function

Project Title: Cumulative Impacts of Trawling and Hypoxia on Northwest Pacific Deep-Sea Ecosystems

Project Description: The main objective of my project is to evaluate the physical and biological forcing conditions in the benthic boundary layer of the NE Pacific Ocean and their impact on ecosystem dynamics. I hope to understand how macrofaunal diversity interacts with different O2 conditions (following its natural gradient), organic matter supply and microbial diversity in recycling organic matter and regenerating nutrients (nitrate, nitrite, ammonia, phosphate). I will achieve this by comparing macrofaunal and microbial diversity in different O2 conditions and relating them to rates of respiration and nutrient efflux. I would also like to understand how communities interact with their environment in recycling organic matter.


Danielle Quinn                                       

Project Title: North Altantic Fisheries Conservation



Marta Miatta                                         

Memorial University of Newfoundland, Ocean Sciences Department

I am originally from Italy, where I received my M.S. in Marine Biology in 2015, working on meiofaunal biodiversity and sedimentary trophic status in coastal systems. I have always had a strong passion for nature and the ocean and my main interests include benthic ecology, biodiversity and conservation issues related to the marine ecosystems, especially the deep-sea. My favourite part of the job are the endless days at sea collecting mud samples and exploring the ocean’s wonders using ROVs. When I’m not studying or working, you’re likely to find me hiking or playing with my dog, Alaska and taking pictures of the stunning Newfoundland’s nature.

Project Title: Biological and environmental drivers of deep-sea benthic ecosystem functioning

Project Description: The main objectives of my project are to evaluate benthic key functions (oxygen consumption, nutrients fluxes and microbial activity) in different soft-sediment bottom habitats of the North Atlantic (Laurentian Channel AOI, Gulf of Maine) and to evaluate the relationships between ecosystem functioning and benthic diversity (biodiversity and functional diversity of macrofaunal and meiofauna) and environmental factors. The study, sponsored by CHONe (Canadian Healthy Ocean Network), aims to understand how ecosystem functioning is regulated and the role different biotic and abiotic factors play in that. Moreover, the better understanding of benthic ecological processes could be helpful in developing effective conservation strategies for the ocean and for the improvement of MPAs design and monitoring protocols.



Emilie Geissinger                            

Memorial University of Newfoundland, Ocean Sciences

Hello! My name is Emilie Geissinger and I grew up in Connecticut, USA. Before coming to Memorial University of Newfoundland, I was a Biology teacher and swim coach. I was also a research intern at Cape Eleuthera Institute, which is where I discovered I wanted to pursue a career in research. When I’m not studying or working, I am off hiking or reading a book.

CHONe Project: The contribution of nearshore coastal zone nurseries to offshore capture fisheries.

Project Title: The effects of temperature on size-specific overwinter survival of age-0 Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua)

Project Description:

My project focuses on the effect temperature has on size-specific survival of juvenile Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) over the winter season in Newman Sound, NL. I will be applying a matrix population model to age-0 Atlantic cod to determine the role temperature plays on survival and growth. This model will also assess the contribution of coastal juvenile populations to offshore fisheries. In conjunction with my empirical study, I will be conducting a mark-recapture study from October-May to determine the natural survival rate of age-0 cod and assess if migration between sites occurs in Newman Sound. Lastly, I will be looking at the role temperature and food availability have on the condition of age-0 Atlantic cod.

The specific project/thesis aims are:

Determine the effect of temperature on size-specific overwinter survival of age-0 Gadus morhua and how the coastal juvenile populations contribute to offshore fisheries
Mark-recapture study of age-0 G. morhua over winter season
Assessing condition of age-0 G. morhua in winter conditions
This project links with the broader CHONe goals by studying the impact climate change has on coastal zone fisheries and determining juvenile contribution to offshore fisheries.


Salma A.A. Husaien                        

Memorial University of Newfoundland, Ocean Sciences

 I was born in Libya on the one of most beautiful spots on the Mediterranean coast, called Ras Al Hilal, where I found myself interested in a wide variety of topics in marine ecology and biology, which made me increasingly fond of oceanography and the marine environment. I obtained an MSc in Marine Science at the faculty of Natural Sciences, University of Omar Al-Mukhtar, El-Baida, Libya. I specialized in Environmental and Biological Studies on Juvenile Commercial Fish in the nursery habitats on the Mediterranean coast, specifically, the life history pattern of the marine species and its Lessepsian migration through the Suez Canal to the southeastern part of the Mediterranean Sea.

CHONe Project: The contribution of nearshore coastal zone nurseries to offshore capture fisheries.

Project Title: Testing the Junk-food Hypothesis on age 0-1 Atlantic Cod Gadus morhua: Effects of Fatty Acid Contents, Prey Density & Prey Size on Growth and Survival.

Project Description: My project aims to explore some of the factors affecting the growth and survival of the Atlantic Cod in Newman Sound, a small, protected fjord located in Bonavista Bay off the NE coast of Newfoundland coastal. I will try to explore some ways in which these areas could be used without causing harmful biological effects. A key element in trying to rebuild the population is to understand how food availability and nutrition behavior affect productivity. Since the junk-food hypothesis is a highly relevant factor in relation to sustaining ecosystem resilience and is an important consideration in ecosystem management, the quality of the food may also be critically important for some marine species at the juvenile stage. Because of this factor, I will suggest this hypothesis as a potential explanation for the dramatic decline of the population of Juvenile Atlantic Cod communities in Newman Sound, one of the important nursery habitats on Newfoundland coastal, and it may be possible to predict that Juvenile Atlantic Cod will be particularly sensitive to their habitats’ food quality. I anticipate that this information will be used to explore ways in which such nursery areas can be maintained and, where appropriate, restored in such a way as to allow coastal communities to benefit from them.

The specific project/thesis aims are:
1- to explore, using this hypothesis, the factors affecting the growth and survival of Atlantic Cod in a coastal nursery habitat of Newfoundland.
2- to explore ways to minimize adverse effects of these factors on habitat sustainability and explore restoration options.
3- to provide scientific information to support effective management of Atlantic fisheries.
Through the study of potential effects on the growth and survival of juvenile Atlantic Cod and in Newfoundland coastal habitats.
This research project will examine the growth and bioenergetic response of juvenile Atlantic Cod to conditions expected to affect their survival in the marine environment. This research will use an empirical approach to these hypotheses by collecting juveniles in the ocean environment using targeted seine surveys.



MSc Candidates

Benjamin King    

I originally hail from the small town of Elora, Ontario. From a young age, I spent many of my summers fishing the waters of Lake Erie, where I became fascinated with fish biology and how the surrounding environment affects spatial dynamics. I travelled east to complete my B.Sc (Hons) Co-op in Marine Biology with a minor in Statistics from Dalhousie University. I fell in love with the east coast during my time in Nova Scotia and I now am fortunate enough to call St. John's my home. When I'm not studying or working on my project, you'll likely find me playing any sort of team sport around the city, hiking, cooking or taking long walks on the beach.

Memorial University of Newfoundland, Department of Ocean Sciences

Ocean Frontier Institue Module E: Ecolosystem Indicators for a Changing Ocean

Project Title: The spatial ecology of juvenile Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) and Arctic char (Salvelinus alpinus) in coastal ecosystems.



Catie Young             

Memorial University of Newfoundland, Environmental Science Department

Project Title: Distributional patterns of deep-sea coral and sponge in the Hatton Basin area of the Northwest Atlantic

Project Description: The main objective of my project is to describe the distributional patterns and biodiversity of deep-sea coral and sponge habitats off the northern Labrador shelf and slope. Environmental DNA (eDNA), Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) videos, and drop camera videos will be analyzed to determine Hatton Basin deep-sea coral and sponge distributional patterns and community structure with depth (500 m – 2500 m). Analysis will consider regional physical circulation models to investigate how currents influence distribution from coast to offshore, clarifying the biological implications of nutrient delivery. This project, as part of the ISECOLD and ATLAS projects, will help predict climate change effects on deep-sea coral and sponge ecosystems, and evaluate predictions from other coral and sponge species distribution models by providing ground-truthing for depths beyond 1500 m. Also, better understanding of coral and sponge biodiversity in a globally significant downwelling area can help predict complex ecosystem changes and overall ecosystem health. This information will help ocean managers in the implementation of MPAs and in monitoring ecosystem change and resilience.



Evelyn MacRobert                                    

Memorial University of Newfoundland, Department of Biology

Having always enjoyed being around water, my gravitation to marine ecology is no surprise. I received my Bachelors of Science from the University of Guelph, majoring in Marine and Freshwater Biology. My interests include predator-prey interactions and habitat quality.

CHONe Project: 1.2.1: The contribution of nearshore coastal zone nurseries to offshore capture fisheries

 Project Title: Spatial risk: Influence of piscivorous fish on selection of nursery habitat by Age-0 juvenile cod

Project Description: Juvenile fish experience a high rate of mortality and most of this mortality is due to predation. In Newfoundland Atlantic (Gadus morhua) and Greenland (G. ogac) juvenile cod settle into eelgrass beds which serve as nursery habitat, providing food and shelter from predation. I am interested in understanding the importance of eelgrass nursery habitats to the survival of juvenile cod. Specifically, I aim to
1. Determine the distribution of age-0 juveniles within eelgrass patches, and
2. Determine the habitat areas that hold the highest predation risk, based on where predators occur.
With this project, I hope to provide insight into how important eelgrass beds are to the growth and survival of juvenile cod.



Rebecca Steinhart                                                    

Project Title:

Natural and anthropogenic drivers of sedimentary communities in the Gulf of St. Lawrence


Victoria Howse                                                          

Project Title:

Assessing the efficacy of the Eastport Marine Protected Area to enhance local lobster fisheries as it relates to growth rate, reproductive potential, and habitat use

Lab Alumni

completed 2018 Neus Campanya i Llovet Ph.D Co-advisor
completed 2018 Emma Cooke M.Sc. Co-advisor
completed 2016 Mallory Van Wyngaarden M.Sc. Co-advisor
completed 2016 Renald Belley Ph.D. Advisor
completed 2016 Ryan Stanley Ph.D Advisor
completed 2016 Melanie Rossong Ph.D. Co-advisor
completed 2015 Dustin Schornagel MSc Co-advisor
completed 2015 Ashley Robar M.Sc. Co-advisor
completed 2013 Melanie Shapiera M.Sc. Co-advisor
completed 2013 Krista Baker Ph.D., Part time Co-advisor
completed 2013 Corey Morris Ph.D., Part time Advisor
completed 2011 Louise Copeman PhD Co-supervisor
completed 2010 Victoria Burdett-Coutts M.Sc. Co-advisor
completed 2009 Mary Ryan M.Sc. Co-advisor
completed 2009 Ryan Stanley M.Sc. Co-advisor
completed 2009 Ashlee Lillis M.Sc. Advisor
completed 2009 Kelly Carter M.Sc. Co-advisor
completed 2009 Michael Kelly M.Sc. Advisor
completed 2007 Lu Guan MSc Advisor
completed 2006 Jared Crawford Master’s of Marine Studies Advisor
completed 2004 Pedro Quijon Ph.D. Advisor
completed 2003 Harshana Rajakaruna MSc Co-advisor
completed 2002 Danielle Nichols Master's of Marine Studies Advisor
completed 2001 Andrea Carew Master's of Marine Studies Co-advisor
completed 2001 Barry McCallum Master's of Marine Studies Advisor
completed 2001 Patricia Ramey M.Sc. Advisor
completed 2000 Ian Bradbury M.Sc. Advisor
completed 1999 Gina Billard Master's of Marine Studies Advisor
2016-2018Nicolas Le Corre Co-supervisor
2016-2017 Barbara Neves Co-supervisor
2016 - 2018 Nicolas LeCorre Co-supervisor
2013 – 2015 Richard Allen Co-supervisor
2011 – 2014 Chih-Lin Wei Co-supervisor
2010-2011 Colleen Mercer-Clark Co-supervisor
2007-2008 I. Bradbury Co-supervisor
2004-2005 K. Alexandra Curtis Co-supervisor
Completed 2017 Chelsea Bloom
Completed 2011 Victoria Howse
Completed 2009 Rebecca Doyle
Completed 2008 Larina Carroll (Co-supervised) Krista Boland
Completed 2007 Margaret Warren (Co-supervised) Candice St. Germain Karla Short
Completed 2006 Stephen Cole Stephen Chung Kate Gardiner
Completed 2002 Kelly Carter (Co-supervised)
Completed 2001 Krista Park
Completed 1999 Jonathon Martin Thomas Brown


Ocean Sciences

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000