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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 Dept. at UMass/Boston, and in the Intercampus School of Marine Science.


Martine Wagstaff

I am a PhD Candidate interested in understanding basic ecological and evolutionary processes and identifying factors that threaten these.  My current work in shallow subtidal habitats in the Gulf of Maine focuses on the following: 1) identifying ecological processes that structure the balance between algae and sessile invertebrates; 2) how invasive species have disrupted community structure through time; and 3) how invasive species themselves evolve once they enter new habitats.  I use experimental in situ approaches to do this and am happiest in the field.


Scott Morello

I am a PhD candidate interested in population and community level marine ecology and how forces structure abundance and diversity at different scales. My current research in Rocky Intertidal systems in the Gulf of Maine (GOM) makes use of Multi-species Markov Chain Models (MCMs) and field experimentation in understanding: 1) How well MCMs capture GOM community structure and dynamics and the effects of spatial and temporal variance; 2) The role of direct and indirect interactions in controlling community structure and dynamics, with specific attention to the role of a major predator; 3) Large scale modulation of species interactions and its role in regional shifts of intertidal assemblages. I hold a BS in Environmental Science with a minor in Geology from Dickinson College, and my previous work includes Fish Biology and Ecology, Sea Turtle Research and Conservation, Environmental Education, and Environmental Consulting.

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.

Amanda Glazier

My interests mainly focus on population genetics and patterns and processes of the evolution of marine organisms. I am currently enrolled in the PhD program in Environmental Biology and am in the beginning stages of working on these topics in relation to deep-sea organisms. I recently transferred to UMass Boston from a Master’s program at UMass Dartmouth. I received an undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences with a focus in Marine Biology from the University of Maryland.

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.

Casey McCabe

I joined the Etter lab as a Ph.D. student in 2015. I am currently working with Ron and Robyn Hannigan to quantify spatial and temporal patterns of larval dispersal of the blue mussel in the Gulf of Maine (GoM) as a part of a larger project investigating invertebrate population connectivity and community dynamics. My research uses laboratory techniques such as elemental fingerprinting to identify source areas of newly settled mussels and elucidate movement patterns of larval mussels. This work helps to provide empirical evidence to support the development of effective bivalve management strategies in the GoM. Prior to coming to UMass, I earned my B.S. in Biology from Earlham College. My background includes environmental research, museum collections management, science education, and organic farming.

Angelo Christophe

I am McNair Fellow majoring in biology and minoring in chemistry. My main interests are in environmental research, primarily focused on deep-sea evolution or the impact of anthropogenic activities. I am currently sorting deep-sea samples to find minute clams, which is very interesting because of the wide range of other strange invertebrates within the samples. I’m also involved in quantifying a molecular clock for deep-sea protobranch bivalves and plan to become involved in a variety of other projects ongoing in the lab. Everyone in the Etterlab has been very welcoming, warm and helpful in teaching me about the Deep Ocean.

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