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Student Involvement


Ashley Brandt

Graduate student, Florida Gulf Coast University

Ashley is an graduate student in the Environmental Science program at FGCU. As an undergraduate, Ashley did her senior research on disease intensity of sea fans in the Florida Keys, and has since been an essential member of the dive team for CiguaHAB studies. Her responsibilities include conducting photo transects and analysis by Coral Point Count for seasonal changes in benthic cover. Ashley’s thesis research will focus on the benthic substrate dynamics in the Florida Keys.


Alex Leynse

Graduate student, Florida Gulf Coast University

Alex is involved in both field and laboratory CiguaHAB activities in Dr. Parsons lab. As a member of the dive team for Florida Keys sampling, Alex is involved in all aspects of the field work, including macroalgal sampling and trapping/spearing fish for toxin analysis.  His lab duties include Gambierdiscus counts in field samples, isolation and culturing of Gambierdiscus, and nutrient analysis of water samples. Alex’s graduate research involves determining nutrient source effects on growth rates of different Gambierdiscus species.


Katie Pitz

Graduate student, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Katie is a third year graduate student in Dr. Anderson’s lab. She is working on designing FISH probes to detect Gambierdiscus at both the genus and species level. Her interests include the genetic basis for diversity within Gambierdiscus and elucidating seasonal benthic community dynamics.