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Ron Etter Ron Etter

I’m interested in basic questions about the ecology and evolution of marine organisms, especially the forces that control the origin and maintenance of diversity. My research involves correlative, experimental and theoretical approaches and studies at the genetic, population and community levels of organization.  We conduct research in a wide variety of marine ecosystems from the intertidal zone to the deep sea.  I received my BS in biology from UMass/Boston and my PhD in Biology from Harvard University. I am currently a Professor in the Biology Deptartment at UMass/Boston, in the School for the Environment and in the Intercampus School of Marine Science.

Rachel Labella

I am enrolled in the PhD program in Environmental Biology and am interested in understanding community structure. I graduated from UCLA in 2011. At UCLA I worked in Dr. Paul Barbers lab on identifying genetic relationships in stomatopods throughout the Indonesian Coral Triangle using genetic techniques. After graduation, I moved to Eleuthera, Bahamas to work at the Cape Eleuthera Institute. I mainly worked with the Shark Research Program looking at how different shark species get stressed during longline capture. I was also able to conduct my own research in which I looked at how sharks were affecting turtle foraging patterns in Half Sound Bay. After a year in the Bahamas I moved to Massachusetts to pursue graduate school.

Aaron Honig

Aaron Honig joined the Etter Lab as a PhD student in 2014. He graduated from Tufts University in 2006 with a double-major in biology and environmental studies. During his undergraduate studies, Aaron conducted field research on leaf-cutter ant herbivory in northwestern Ecuador at the Bilsa Biological Research Station. After graduation, he taught marine ecology at the Catalina Island Marine Institute in southern California. After leaving California, he continued biological field research in northeastern Costa Rica, studying sea turtle nesting ecology at the Caño Palma Biological Research Station. Aaron then earned an M.S. degree while studying bivalve ecology and marsh restoration at Louisiana State University AgCenter, jointly working under the US. Geological Survey and Louisiana SeaGrant. His current work focuses on the use of trace element fingerprinting in quantifying spatial and temporal patterns of larval dispersal in the blue mussel along the northern Gulf of Maine. Generally, Aaron’s dissertation research will focus on potential effects of marine climate change (changes in temperature, pCO2, aragonite saturation state) on mussel physiology and ecology. He is very glad to be back in his native Massachusetts, despite recent blizzards, and looks forward to contributing to our understanding of coastal invertebrate ecology during his studies at UMass, Boston.

Yvonnes Vaillancourt

Yvonne Vaillancourt

Though my interests are varied, studying sponges allows me to combine work on physiology, ecology and evolution of marine invertebrates. Currently I am a graduate student working on a project investigating the effect of wave energy on the ecology and evolution of an intertidal sponge. I also work full time at UMass Boston as the coordinator of the teaching labs and I run an immersive summer oceanography course for Veterans Upward Bound at UMass Boston and teach a Scientific Foundations course for their program as well.

Lauren Chacho

I am a REU intern majoring in marine science-biology and minoring in Spanish at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, FL. I am interested in marine invertebrates and how we can use these organisms to understand chemical and physical oceanography. During my undergraduate years, I have conducted research on marine geology at Eckerd College working on samples of sediment collected from the BP oil spill for the USGS, creating a neurotransmitter map of squid and cuttlefish at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Wood's Hole, MA, researched the abundance and diversity of land snails along an altitudinal gradient in Monteverde, Costa Rica, and studied the accuracy of a Turner Trilogy fluorometer compared to a spectrophotometer and in vivo fluorometer in Tampa Bay, FL. I plan to work with the mussel larvae in the lab, as well as some genetics work to identify different species of mussels. I am very excited to be working in the Etter lab for the summer to gain more research experience!

Joel Rosen

My name is Joel Rosen and I'm a summer intern but have been working in the Etter lab since early after my transfer to UMass Boston in the Fall of 2015. I am a biology major and plan to use research experience gained at UMass to continue on to pursue a graduate degree in the field of marine science. I am equally interested in the study of crucial marine species like bivalves as I am in the behavior of complex animals like cephalopods or marine mammals, and have been enjoying the study of the former here in the lab and field. I transferred from MassBay Community College where I engaged in a mix of study of marine sciences and biotechnology and genetic research and techniques. I look forward to continuing work here in the lab and getting out on the beautiful oceans in New England!

Annya Lopez

I am an undergraduate biology student at Northeastern University, I transfered in from Bunker Hill Community College. Last summer I did the bridges internship which is a collaboration between BHCC and UMASS Boston funded by NIH. Before I got the internship I particiapted in a study abroad in Costa Rica that focused on sustabability and culture. Also I volunteer at Dana Farber Institute helping cancer patients. During my internship at Umass Boston my project was focused on juvenile mussels how the temperature and the quality of food affects their shell growth. I also helped start the algae project, and worked on many other lab projects. It was an amazing experience! That is the reason why I am excited to be back and volunteer this summer.

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