Lab Members

Principal Investigator: Dr. Sarah Kingston

Sarah is a molecular ecologist interested in gene flow across species boundaries as well as changing selective pressures associated with climate change. She utilizes natural population variation to link genotype and phenotype. She conducts research on many different taxa, from cetaceans to birds to molluscs. One current project focuses on blue mussels in the Gulf of Maine and their adaptive potential in the face of ocean acidification.


Clay Starr (’19)

Clay is a Bowdoin Marine Science Semester (BMSS) 2017 alumnus. Clay’s experimental work focuses on the impacts of temperature and pH on the feeding behavior of the predatory snail, Nucella lapillus. He also spearheaded the effort in the lab to use shell landmark analysis (via the R package geomorph) to assess phenotypic differences among Littorina saxatilis populations in the Gulf of Maine.

Annie Curtis-Dyck (’20)

Annie joined the lab during the summer of 2018. She is focusing on launching a pilot project to infer connectivity among coastal and offshore scallop (Placopecten magellanicus) populations in the Gulf of Maine. Her project is a collaboration among Bowdoin’s Schiller Coastal Studies Center, the Hurricane Island Foundation, and the local Penobscot Bay fishing community.

Graham Bendickson (’20)

Graham also started his research during summer, 2018. His work is aimed at assessing phenotypic and genotypic differences among populations of the intertidal snail, L. obtusata, with a particular interest in comparing populations exposed to different levels of wave energy.

Madeline Schuldt (‘18)

Madeline is another BMSS alumna (‘15). She kindled her interest in shellfish health, oyster parasites, and disease during her BMSS independent project. Schuldt leveraged molecular tools to detect oyster disease in natural and aquacultured populations in collaboration with The Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences for her senior Biology Honors thesis.

Vanessa Van Deusen (Barnard College ’18)

Vanessa has been working on the invasive green crab project (collaboration with SCSC Director, Dr. Dave Carlon) across two summers and a senior research project. She has collected and analyzed a tremendous amount of abundance data for this longitudinal dataset and piloted the gut DNA metabarcoding techniques for her senior thesis.


Alana Luzzio (‘17)

Alana is a BMSS alumna (‘15). In collaboration with Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, Maine Coastal Mapping Initiative, Luzzio won a competitive Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund grant (2016) to study genetic variation in populations of benthic bivalves and corresponding variation in water chemistry associated with the bivalves’ habitats. She analyzed the shell composition (using scanning electron microscopy) and genotyped two benthic bivalve species in the Gulf of Maine – Nucula proxima and Arctica islandica. Ultimately, Alana will link genotype, phenotype, and environmental variation in this unique set of samples. Post-graduation, Alana worked as a Marine Technician for the Bowdoin Marine Science Semester, interned at the Mystic Aquarium, and is returning to support BMSS 2018.

Pieter Martino (‘17)

Pieter completed his Honors Thesis (Biology Department) in 2017: ‘Linking stress phenotype to standing genetic variation amidst a changing climate.’ His work piloted RNAseq in the lab and is pivotal to unraveling the genomic architecture of climate stress response in blue mussels. Pieter spent 2 summers in the field collecting mussels from all over the Gulf of Maine and running the climate stress experiments at the Schiller Coastal Studies Center Marine Lab. After graduation, Pieter started working in a research laboratory at Tufts University.

Pauline Unietis (‘20)

Pauline joined the lab summer of 2017. She worked on a collaborative long-term monitoring project (with Dr. Dave Carlon, SCSC Director) focused on invasive green crabs in Harpswell Sound, Maine. In addition to collecting abundance data throughout the summer, Pauline helped test metagenomic barcoding tools on stomach contents to assess the diet of these invasive crabs.

Previous Lab Members

Ben Eisenberg (‘17)

Jenna Watling (‘16)