Leaf Lab at GCRL, Students

Additional information for the lab is available here.

Morgan Corey
Morgan Corey

Morgan Corey

Morgan.Corey@eagles.usm.edu

Morgan graduated with a B.S. in Zoology with Honors Research Distinction from The Ohio State University in 2014. During her time at Ohio State, she worked at the Aquatic Ecology Laboratory as a research assistant for a project studying stock structure of Lake Erie Walleye (Sander vitreus) through micro-elemental analysis of otoliths. Her undergraduate research thesis focused on the use of larval otolith microchemistry as a natural marker to discriminate between major river-spawning stocks of Walleye in Lake Erie.

Morgan is currently working on her Master’s degree in Coastal Sciences at The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Research Laboratory with Dr. Robert Leaf. Her thesis research is focused on describing the life history of Southern Flounder (Paralichthys lethostigma) in the northern Gulf of Mexico. The project objective is to better understand the reproductive biology and somatic characteristics of the species relevant to management of the Southern Flounder fishery in Mississippi. Her research will involve a one-year field sampling effort to collect Southern Flounder specimens primarily from within the Mississippi Sound using various fishing methods. Reproductive tissue samples and otoliths will be obtained from these fish for histological analyses and age-growth modeling. Ultimately, this knowledge will improve the ability of state management agencies to protect and sustain the recreational and commercial fisheries that the Gulf of Mexico Southern Flounder population supports. As a community outreach component, the project will involve local high school and community college students to expose them to the process of conducting scientific research and to inspire enthusiasm for pursuing a career in the biological sciences field.  Additional research project information.


David Dippold
David Dippold

David Dippold

David.Dippold@eagles.usm.edu

David earned his B.S. in Environmental Science from Messiah College in Grantham, PA. During his time at Messiah College, he worked to develop an Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) for limestone streams in central Pennsylvania using fish assemblage. David came to GCRL in the fall of 2014 as a graduate assistant working under Dr. Robert Leaf.

David’s master’s thesis research focuses on mathematical modeling of individual life-history characteristics and population level dynamics of Spotted Seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus) in Mississippi coastal waters. Specifically, David is working with tag-recapture data collected by GCRL from 1996 through 2008 to estimate growth parameters of the von Bertalanffy growth function and size-selective mortality rates of Spotted Seatrout. In addition to his work with tag-recapture data, David is assisting in the development of an age-structured stock assessment model for the Spotted Seatrout fishery in Mississippi. He hopes to use this model to help evaluate the potential efficacy of stock enhancement through aquaculture. By using simulation models, David will explore how stock enhancement could potentially mitigate the effects of overfishing the wild Spotted Seatrout stock.


Cody Jones
Cody Jones

Cody Jones

Cody.W.Jones@eagles.usm.edu

Cody earned a B.S. in Marine Biology from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2014. He participated in the GCRL Summer Field Program for four semesters studying Marine Aquaculture, Elasmobranch Biology, Barrier Island Ecology and Marine Parasitology. He also participated in a shadow program at the Cedar Point Hatchery and worked in the Fisheries Research Lab processing Lionfish (Pterois volitans) stomach contents for graduate research. He became a master’s student under the advisement of Dr. Robert Leaf in August 2014.

Cody’s thesis research project is focused on the somatic and reproductive characteristics of Gulf Menhaden (Brevoortia patronus) and how those characteristics, along with environmental factors, relate to the seasonal variations in lipid content. Sampling will consist of twelve collections taken over eight months from Louisiana and Mississippi waters, obtaining all samples from a variety of commercial partners in both states. A subsample of each collection will undergo a chemical extraction process for further analysis to understand the allocation of lipids in the muscle tissue over the entirety of the spawning season. Cody’s research interest lies in expanding the current knowledge of the Gulf Menhaden stock to better understand the holistic role of this species and to enhance management efforts and commercial use.


Stephanie Taylor
Stephanie Taylor

Stephanie Taylor

Stephanie.Taylor@eagles.usm.edu

Stephanie Taylor graduated with a B.S. in Marine Biology from Auburn University.  During her time at Auburn she came to GCRL as a Summer Field Program student studying Shark Biology, Marine Invertebrates, and Oceanography.  After graduation from Auburn, she began to work for the Marine Education Center as an instructor and then later became accepted to the graduate student program at GCRL Southern Mississippi. 

Stephanie is currently working on her Masters in Coastal Sciences with a concentration in quantitative fisheries.  She is studying the ichthyoplankton community composition of both the Loop Current and Sargassum in the Gulf of Mexico and will graduate May 2014.  During her time at the lab she has been a graduate assistant working for Center for Fisheries Research and Development and later with her advisor Dr. Robert Leaf working on Black Sea Bass.  She has also been a teaching assistant for the Summer Field Program during summer 2013.  Additional research project details

Robert Trigg
Robert Trigg

Robert Trigg

Robert.Trigg@usm.edu

Robert Trigg earned a B.S. in Natural Sciences with minors in Physics and German from Shimer College in Chicago. He came to GCRL in 2010 and worked as a Biological Technician until 2013, when be became a full-time M.S. student. Robert's work at GCRL has included the Mississippi Blue Crab CPUE Study, Mississippi’s Fishery-Independent Sampling Program, Directed NRDA Assessment Research regarding blue crabs, and the Gulf of Mexico Nutrient Criteria Development in the State of Mississippi. He is a member of the American Fisheries Society and the Marine and Estuarine Graduate Student Association.

Robert's master's thesis research focuses on an individual-based model (IBM) of the Gulf menhaden (Brevoortia patronus) fishing fleet. His work adapts modern ecological simulation tools normally used for studying the foraging behavior of animals. He also hopes to verify that vessel movements, like animal searching strategies, can be characterized by a Lévy flight. This distribution of movements is heavy-tailed, with many short movements and relatively rare long movements. Additional research project details

Alumni

Jesse Marks
Jesse Marks

Jesse Marks

Jesse completed an internship at GCRL during the summer of 2014 under the guidance of Dr. Robert Leaf. He worked on a Research Experience for Undergraduates project provided by SCeMFiS and funded by the National Science Foundation. Jesse will graduate with a B.S. in Mathematics from Central Methodist University in December 2014. He plans to pursue an M.S. in applied mathematics.

Jesse’s research project focused on simulation modeling and analysis of adaptive cluster sampling, an alternative sampling method to traditional simple random sampling. Specifically, his project examined how variations in simulated population abundance, population aggregation, and sampling strategies affected the precision of the estimates. He hopes to use the properties of the estimator to refine the survey design of eastern oyster populations in the Chesapeake Bay.