Project Manager

 

April Cook (M.S., 2012)
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Position: 
Project Manager for DEEPEND
Research Scientist

Education:
2012 M.S. Marine Science, College of William & Mary, Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS)

2000 B.S. Marine Science, Coastal Carolina University

Research Interests:
I am currently the Project Manager for the DEEPEND Consortium (www.deependconsortium.org), which is a five year project funded by the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative. As Project Manager, I organize field sampling activities, administrate program subawards, and organize consortium meetings and reporting activities. I also serve as a Research Scientist, assisting with deep-sea fish identification and distributional analyses. My main area of interest focuses on a group of deep-sea fishes called the swallowerfishes (Family: Chiasmodontidae). Their common name reflects their ability to swallow prey larger than themselves as shown in this image. My current work on this family focuses on the taxonomy, distribution, diet, and reproduction of the species collected from the Gulf of Mexico.

 

Publications:

Cook, A.B., Bernhard, A.M., Boswell, K.M., Bracken-Grissom, H., D'Elia, M., deRada, S. et al. (2020). A multidisciplinary approach to investigate deep-pelagic ecosystem dynamics in the Gulf of Mexico following Deepwater Horizon. Front. Mar. Sci. 7:548880. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2020.548880

Frank, T.M., Fine, C.D., Burdett, E.A., Cook, A.B., & Sutton, T.T. (2020). The vertical and horizontal distribution of deep-sea crustaceans in the Order Euphausiacea in the vicinity of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Front. Mar. Sci. 7:99. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2020.00099

Moore, J.A., Fenolio, D.B., Cook, A.B., & Sutton, T.T. (2020). Hiding in plain sight: Elopomorph larvae are important contributors to fish biodiversity in a low-latitude oceanic ecosystem. Front. Mar. Sci. 7:169. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2020.00169

Richards, T.M., Gipson, E.E., Cook, A., Sutton, T.T., & Wells, R.J.D. (2018). Trophic ecology of meso- and bathypelagic predatory fishes in the Gulf of Mexico. ICES J. Mar. Sci. 76(3):662-672. https://doi.org/10.1093/icesjms/fsy074

Burdett, E.A., Fine, C.D., Sutton, T.T., Cook, A.B., & Frank, T.M. (2017). Geographic and depth distributions, ontogeny, and reproductive seasonality of decapod shrimps (Caridea: Oplophoridae) from the northeastern Gulf of Mexico. Bull. Mar. Sci. 93(3):743–767. https://doi.org/10.5343/bms.2016.1083

Judkins, H., Vecchione, M., Cook, A., & Sutton, T. (2017). Diversity of midwater cephalopods in the northern Gulf of Mexico: comparison of two collecting methods. Mar. Biodiv. 47(3):647-657. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12526-016-0597-8

Mohan, J.A., Sutton, T.T., Cook, A.B., Boswell, K.M., & David Wells, R.J. (2017). Influence of oceanographic conditions on abundance and distribution of post-larval and juvenile carangid fishes in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Fish. Oceanogr. 26(5):526-541. https://doi.org/10.1111/fog.12214

D'Elia, M., Warren, J.D., Rodriguez-Pinto, I., Sutton, T.T., Cook, A.B., & Boswell, K.M. (2016). Diel variation in the vertical distribution of deep-water scattering layers in the Gulf of Mexico. Deep-Sea Res. PT I. 115, 91–102. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dsr.2016.05.014

Judkins, H., Cook, A.B., Sutton, T.T., & Vecchione, M. (2016). Diversity of midwater cephalopods in the northern Gulf of Mexico: comparison of two collecting methods. Mar. Biodiv. https://doi.org/10-1007/s12526-016-0597-8

Vecchione, M., Falkenhaug, T., Sutton, T.T., Cook, A.B., Gislason, A., Hansen, H.Ø. et al. (2015). The effect of the North Atlantic Subpolar Front as a boundary in pelagic biogeography decreases with increasing depth and organism size. Prog. Oceanogr. 138(A):105-115. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pocean.2015.08.006

Cook, A.B., Sutton, T.T., Galbraith, J.K., & Vecchione, M. (2013). Deep-pelagic (0–3000 m) fish assemblage structure over the Mid-Atlantic Ridge in the area of the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone. Deep-Sea Res. Pt. II 98:279–291. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dsr2.2012.09.003

 

 

Research Assistants and Graduate Students 

 

Nina Pruzinsky (M.S., 2018)
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Position/Major: 
Research Assistant, Oceanic Ecology Lab, Seascape Ecology Lab, and Marine Microbiology & Genetics  Lab
Oceanic Ecology Lab Manager, DEEPEND Consortium

Education: 
2018 M.S. Marine Biology, Nova Southeastern University
2015 B.S. Environmental Science with minors in Marine Science and Spanish, University of Delaware

Thesis: Identification and spatiotemporal dynamics of tuna (Family: Scombridae; Tribe: Thunnini) early life stages in the oceanic Gulf of Mexico

Research Interests:
I am interested in researching poorly-studied species/communities because my goal is to provide information to the public and conservation/management efforts to help maintain populations and overall large ecosystems. For my thesis, I examined the identification, faunal composition, and spatiotemporal distributions of larval and juvenile tunas (Family: Scombridae) in the northern Gulf of Mexico (GoM) from 2010 to 2017. During my thesis, I developed a synthesis of the morphological characteristics used to identify the taxonomically challenging larval and juvenile tuna life stages. My thesis also increased the existing knowledge on the identification of juvenile tunas by identifying further resolution of species-specific body ratios of this life stage. Species-specific environmental preferences (e.g., salinity, chorophyll a, etc.) and seasonality were identified as the main drivers of tuna spatial distributions across the epipelagic GoM. Before starting at NSU, I interned in Dr. Mark Warner’s Algal Physiology Research Lab at the University of Delaware where I studied the growth patterns of various coral symbiodinium.

Currently, I am a Research Assistant and the Lab Manager in Dr. Sutton’s Oceanic Ecology Lab at NSU. I am continuing to work with the DEEPEND Consortium, investigating both tuna early life stages and deep-sea organisms. I helped Dr. Sutton lead DEEPEND’s DP06 research cruise in July (GoM, 2018) and a DEEP SEARCH cruise in September (Atlantic Ocean, 2018). I also manage the DEEPEND and NOAA NRDA ONSAP databases, manage sample collection/processing/storage, write and collate cruise reports, and participate in outreach/education activities. I am also mentoring the lab’s graduate students and volunteers. In Dr. Rosanna Milligan's Seascape Ecology Lab, I am continuing to conduct statistical analyses on DEEPEND data and researching life history traits used to identify solutions for creating functional groups of deep-sea fishes for ecosystem management purposes. Additionally, as a member of Dr. Joe Lopez's Marine Microbiology & Genetics Lab, I manage The Photosymbiotic Hub's database, sample collection and preservation, and shipment/tracking of our specimens for the Aquatic Symbiosis Genomics Project.

Achievements/Awards:
Featured in Nova Southeastern University's newspaper, NSU leads research hub in symbiotic genome project (2020)
Biography included in the Twenty First Century Book, Into the Deep: Science, Technology, and the Quest to Protect the Ocean (2020)
Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GOMRI) Scholar
 (2019)
Invited Speaker at the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science Conference (2019)
DEEPEND Consortium/Rock the Ocean Travel Grant (2019)
Research Grant from the 
Southern Florida Chapter of the Explorers Club, Inc. (2017)
American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists (ASIH) Graduate Student Travel Grant (2017)
NSU Pan Student Government Association Professional Development Grant (2017)

Publications:

Pruzinsky, N.M., R.J. Milligan, and T.T. Sutton (2020) Pelagic habitat partitioning of late-larval and juvenile tunas in the oceanic Gulf of Mexico. Frontiers of Marine Science. 7:257. doi: 103389/fmars.202000257.

Cook, A.B., A.M. Bernard, K.M. Boswell, H. Bracken-Grissom, M. D'Elia, S. Derada, C.G. Easson, D. English, R.I. Eytan, T. Frank, C. Hu, M.W. Johnston, H. Judkins, C. Lembke, J.V. Lopez, R.J. Milligan, J.A. Moore, B. Penta, N.M. Pruzinsky, J.A. Quinlan, T. Richards, I.C. Romero, M.S. Shivji, M. Vecchione, M.D. Weber, R.J.D. Wells, and T.T. Sutton (2020) A Multidisciplinary Approach to Investigate Deep-Pelagic Ecosystem Dynamics in the Gulf of Mexico following Deepwater Horizon. Frontiers in Marine Science. 7:548880. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2020.548880

Berger, A.J., P. Blackwelder, T. Frank, T.T. Sutton, N.M. Pruzinsky, N. Slayden, and J.V. Lopez (2021) Microscopic and Genetic Characterization of Bacterial Bioluminescent Symbionts of the Gulf of Mexico Pyrosome, Pyrosoma atlanticum. Frontiers in Marine Science-Microbial Symbioses 8:606818. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2021.606818.

 

 

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (M.S., 2014)

Position/Major: 
Ph.D. candidate at Nova Southeastern University
Senior Research Associate at the Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies at the University of Miami

Education:
2014 M.S. Marine Science, University of Miami, RSMAS
2004 B.S. Biology, University of Miami, CAS

Research Interests:
My recent research encompasses the dynamics of the distribution, abundance, and larval growth of pelagic species, such as tunas and billfishes, in the Gulf of Mexico and adjacent ecosystems within the Atlantic Ocean.

Recent Publications:
Suca, J.J., L.K. Rasmuson, E. Malca, T. Gerard, and J.T. Lamkin (2018) Characterizing larval swordfish habitat in the western tropical Atlantic. Fisheries Oceanography, 1-13.

Malca, E., B.A. Muhling, J. Franks, A. García, J. Tilley, T. Gerard, W. Ingram Jr, and J.T. Lamkin (2017) The first larval age and growth curve for bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) from the Gulf of Mexico: comparisons to the Straits of Florida, and the Balearic Sea (Mediterranean). Fisheries Research 190: 24-33.

Carrillo, L., J.T. Lamkin, E.M. Johns, L. Vásquez-Yeomans, F. Sosa-Cordero, E. Malca, R.H. Smith, and T. Gerald (2017) Linking oceanographic processes and marine resources in the western Caribbean Sea large marine ecosystem subarea. Environmental Development 22: 84-96.

Malca, E., L. Vásquez-Yeomans, C. Gonzalez, V. Gudiel-Corona, F.E. Sosa-Cordero, L. Carrillo, and M.J. González (2015) Capacity building in Marine Protected Areas and Connectivity in the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System: larval fish recruitment. Proc. 67 Annual GCFI, 277-283.

 

 

Olivia North-Menthonnex
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Major: 
M.S Marine Science 

Education: 
2020 B.S. Marine Science with a minor in Psychology, Jacksonville University

Research Interests: 
I have many interests within the realm of Marine Science. During my undergraduate career, I focused on various aspects of ichthyology and geology. For my thesis, I am conducting an ecological assessment of the meso-/bathypelagic fish genus Cyclothone (Stomiiformes; Gonostomatidae), putatively the most abundant fishes in the Gulf of Mexico. I am describing their abundance and vertical distribution to gain a better understanding of their presence in the Gulf of Mexico.

 

 

 

Devynne Brown
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Major: 
M.S Marine Biology

Education: 
2020 B.S. Double Major: Marine Biology and Environmental Science, University of North Carolina at Wilmington

Research Interests: 
I am interested in the processes of bioluminescence and the luminescent capabilities of various deep-sea organisms including fishes, crustaceans, and other invertebrates. I will be studying light output of luminescent fishes and other deep-water fauna, the distribution of these light sources throughout the water column, and exactly what organs or adaptations these marine organisms utilize to glow! My other interests (and experiences) revolve around sea turtle conservation and the anthropogenic stress inflicted on seagrasses using stable isotope analysis. I received my undergraduate degrees from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington where I also was a member of the cheerleading squad all four years.  

 

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Major: 
M.S. Marine Science

Education:
2020 B.S. Marine and Environmental Biology and Policy, Monmouth University

Research Interests: 
I am interested in the trophic ecology amongst deep sea fishes. My Master's thesis project will be looking at the diet of a deep sea genus fish known as, Chiasmodon (Scombriformes; Chiasmodontidae). I will be conducting a trophic study using stomach content analysis aiming to answer the questions of what, when/where, and how often these fish feed in the Gulf of Mexico. During my undergraduate studies, I was involved in herpetology research under Dr. Sean Sterrett, involving diet studies and population surveys of local freshwater turtles, along with the habitat distributions of various salamander species. I am also a co-author on a published paper, describing a shift in the diet of the Barbour's Map turtle after the introduction of an invasive bivalve.

Publications:
Sterrett, S.C., Kirk, T.J., and L.L. Smith. 2020. Evidence of a dietary shift in female Barbour's Map turtle (Graptemys barbouri) to exploit and exotic mollusk. Chelonian Conservation and Biology. Special Issue on Graptemys Biology. doi: 10.2744/CCB-1431.1.

 

 

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Major: 
M.S. Marine Science

Education:
2018 B.S. Biology, Indiana University Southeast
2017: B.A. Chemistry, Indiana University Southeast
2010: Bachelor of General Studies, Indiana University

Research Interests: 
My research interests revolve around the conservation of species and ecosystems. By building upon our knowledge and understanding of the deep sea, we are better preparing ourselves to preserve the ecosystem and the creatures that call it home.

 

 

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Major:

M.S. Marine Science

Research Interests:

I am interested in Marine Management and Policy as well as Marine Conservation. For my thesis, I am assembling a database on the top-down control of oceanic micronekton in the Gulf of Mexico, with two objectives in mind. The first objective is to determine what predators are in the GOM, assemble an inventory of the fauna that eat the deep-living species, and scale how important deep-sea species are to the diet of any given species in the open ocean. The second goal is to quantify and calculate the predation impact on micronekton. This thesis project is of the utmost importance in changing the perspective that the open ocean is a layered system to a system that is highly connected and dynamic.

Education:

2020 M.A. in Teaching
2014 B.S in Biology/Biomedical sciences
2014 Research Internship, Marine Biology at University of Southeast Alaska

Research Experience:

The University of Southeast Alaska/ Juneau, Alaska
Position: Research Assistant
Supervisor: Heidi Pearson, Ph.D.

Studied and analyzed 30 years of photo-identification data of dusky dolphin fins, with the ultimate goal of assessing spatio-temporal association patterns of dusky dolphins and gaining awareness on cetacean populations.

Publications/Acknowledgements:

Orbach, Dara & Pearson, Heidi & Engelhaupt, Amy & Deutsch, Sierra & Srinivasan, Mridula & Weir, Jody & Yin, Suzanne & Würsig, Bernd. (2018). Long-Term Assessment of Spatio-Temporal Association Patterns of Dusky Dolphins (Lagenorhynchus obscurus) off Kaikoura, New Zealand. Aquatic Mammals, 44, 608-619. 10.1578/AM.44.6.2018.608. https://doi.org/10.1578/AM/44.6.2018.608 (Acknowledged)