Our Lab




Rolando O. Santos Corujo, Ph.D., Postdoctoral fellow


Research topic: I am a postdoctoral fellow at FIU under Dr. Rehage’s guidance and a marine spatial ecologist. My research focuses on the restoration and resilience of marine habitats and faunal responses to multi-scale habitat characteristics. Research interests center on the application of landscape ecology concepts in marine ecosystems to study the influence of spatial structure and habitat heterogeneity on the patterning of marine communities, and species interactions, distribution and movement. My current work uses a combination of modelling and quantitative methods that integrate multiple catch and environmental datasets to identify the underlying drivers of bonefish dynamics in Florida Bay.

About me:  I was raised in Puerto Rico and graduated from the University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras Campus with a dual BSc degree in environmental science and geography in 2004. I moved to South Florida in 2006 for my graduate studies. In 2010 I received a dual MSc degree in marine biology and coastal management from Nova Southeastern University, and in 2014 I received my PhD in marine biology and fisheries from the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.




Carissa Gervasi, Ph.D. Student


Research topic: Fish ecology and bioeconomics of marine protected areas

About me: I received my BS degrees in Marine Biology and Chemistry from Roger Williams University in 2011, where I studied ecology of juvenile flatfish and bluefish toxicology. I then went on to pursue my MS degree in Marine Science at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, focusing on fisheries population dynamics and pathobiology in the Chesapeake Bay. After working as a histotechnologist for a few years I decided to come back to school and started a PhD program at FIU in the Earth and Environment department in 2016. My dissertation will focus on how protected areas impact fish ecology and behavior, and how those impacts in turn effect human stakeholders.




Jordan A. Massie, Ph.D. Student


Research Interests: My primary research interests include aquatic community and population dynamics, along with understanding how biotic and physical habitat variables interact to influence the distribution of fishes over time and space. At FIU my research will focus on fish communities in the Florida coastal Everglades in order to better understand changing conditions and help inform ongoing restoration efforts.

About Me: My formative years were spent in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, but I moved west as a young man and spent a number of years in Oregon. After a prosperous career in the bicycle industry, I returned to school at Oregon State University where I received my BSc in Fisheries & Wildlife Science. I have worked extensively in the remote wilderness as both a terrestrial and aquatic biologist on projects ranging from using radio telemetry to characterize the movement of Bighorn Sheep to studying the long term influence of timber harvest on fish and amphibians in headwater streams. Before coming to FIU, I worked as an aquatic ecologist in a federal research laboratory as part of a team developing new models to characterize the distribution of fish assemblages under current and future scenarios in order to help communities and governments guide restoration and conservation efforts. In recent years I have also been active in field based educational outreach programs teaching elementary school students about riverine fish ecology.



Cody Eggenberger, MS Student


Research Topics: Habitat utilization of recreational fish species in northern Florida Bay mangrove lakes.

About Me: I received my B.S. from Michigan State University in 2014 with a major in Zoology. Having broad interests in trophic ecology, migration ecology and marine ecosystem management, my project focuses on the movement and trophic dynamics of Tarpon, Common Snook, Spotted Seatrout, Redfish, and Mangrove Snappers in protected mangrove lakes of north Florida Bay.



Natasha Viadero, Laboratory Technician


Research Interests: Movement Ecology

About Me: Born and raised in South Florida, I developed a love for the outdoors at a young age. I joined the lab as an independent study student while completing my last semester of my undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies, BS. Shortly after graduating, I began working as a laboratory technician where I have been given the opportunity to take part in multiple projects and gain valuable experience.



Former Lab Members


Dr. Jesse R. Blanchard


Research Topic:  His research at FIU focused on building an understanding of how behavioral and invasion ecology influence the metacommunity assembly process, using the Rocky Glades fish community as a model. Overall his research goal was to build an understand the multi-level effects of invasive species with the ultimate goal of deriving effective control and extirpation techniques.

About me: Jesse recently completed his PhD program in earth system sciences natural resource management in the department of the Earth and Environment. Prior to his work at F.I.U. he received BSc. degrees in marine biology and aquaculture an MSc. in marine biology from the Florida Institute of Technology (adviser Dr. Ralph Turingan).  Put simply: He is an ichthyologist. His work with fish has spanned the fields of aquaculture, community ecology, eco-morphology, eco-physiology, invasion ecology, ethology, and has most recently involved metacommunity ecology. In short, if it involves an animal with fins that lives in water then he’s interested in it.


David Stormer, Ph.D., Postdoctoral fellow

Research Interests: A fisheries biologist with research interests in movement ecology, recruitment dynamics, physiology and the effects of exploitation on fish populations.  The focus of his research is to use this knowledge to guide management of both species and aquatic ecosystems in relation to climate change.  In the Rehage Lab at FIU, he took part in investigating the effects of a long-term closure of an embayment in northeast Florida Bay on the baseline fish and recreational fishing conditions, and how this area may change as a result of its opening to fishing and recreational use.  Because this area is part of Everglades National Park, we are employing a non-invasive technique using baited underwater remote video stations (BRUVS) to conduct the fisheries independent sampling.  We have also developed a fisheries dependent program that includes a paper-based angler survey, and an online and smart-phone app reporting system for tracking the effect of the opening of the embayment on fishing activity and visitor experiences over time.

About Me: David grew up along the Hudson River in New York and received a B.S. in organismal biology from the State University of New York at New Paltz.  After a stint in Americorps, he transitioned to the southern U.S. and investigated the population metrics, movement and habitat use of shoal bass (Micropterus cataractae) in tributaries of the Chattahoochee River at Auburn University, Alabama.  For his Ph.D., he moved back to the Northeast for an opportunity to attend the University of Massachusetts and study the seasonal recruitment dynamics of bluefish.


Dr. Vanphoto 5essa Trujillo

Research Topic: Stress related to native and non-native freshwater fish interactions. Her research examined how physiological stress mediates interactions between nonnative African jewelfish and native fishes, particularly dollar sunfishes in the Rocky Glades region of Everglades National Park. 

About me: She recently completed her PhD with research focused in native and non-native interactions and how stress mediates those interactions. Before that she received her bachelor’s in Biology from the University of Florida where she explored research in cottonmouth evolution and behavior, along with wildfire influenced nutrient analysis of soils and foliage from Arctic landscapes. She is now working in outreach with children where she is a direct link between current research and future generations.







Greg Hill, MS 

Research Topic: Fish movement and habitat selection, food web dynamics, community ecology

About me:  Recently completed his Masters in the Earth & Environment Department at Florida International University. His research focused on how fish movement and habitat selection in relation to changing water levels effect food web dynamics in the Everglades.  Recently offered a position as Project Coordinator for the Wood River Wold Project at the Lava Lake Institute for Science & Conversation in Idaho. In his words, “I live for all sorts of outdoor activities, especially fly fishing.  Go Packers.”




Dr. Ross Boucek


Research Topic: Global Change Biology, Community Ecology, Fisheries ecology
About me: Recently completed his PhD in the Department of Biology at Florida International University. At Florida International University he investigated how climate disturbance events, such as cold spells, droughts, and tropical cyclones influence consumer mediated ecosystem connectivity between freshwater marshes, estuaries and the marine environment in the Everglades National Park. Ultimately, his research aimed to link effects of climate disturbance events on ecosystem connectivity to productivity of the coastal fisheries within the Everglades National Park. Dr. Boucek went on to a Post-doc position with FWC and is now working with The Bonefish and Tarpon Trust.



Chris beckChristine Beck, MS 


Research Topic: Effects of contaminants on coastal fisheries.

About me: I recently completed a Master’s of Science in Environmental Studies at Florida International University investigating how contaminants may affect South Florida fisheries, particularly the recreational bonefish fishery.  I taught South Florida Ecology Laboratory for 4 semesters.  My other scientific interests include invasion ecology and conservation biology.







photoEmily Kroloff, MS 


Research Topic: Changes in bonefish populations and distrubution, integrating angler knowledge, human dimension to conservation

About me: I graduated with my Bachelor of Science in Animal Ecology and Global Resource Systems from Iowa State University in 2014. Recently, I completed my Masters in Environmental Studies where I looked at changes in bonefish distributions and populations in South Florida over the last 40 years by tapping into angler knowledge. I have diverse ecological interests that include soil ecology, forestry, and fisheries science with special focuses in human dimensions to conservation and integrating people in management.






OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALyanne S. Mendez, Undergraduate

Lyanne conducted an independent study doing a meta-analysis of the responses of prey to evolutionarily novel predators.

Lyanne is a currently a MS student in Environmental Policy and Law at the University of Vermont.







Jessica’s research examined the effects of marsh drying severity on the survival of coastal Florida largemouth bass in the Everglades.

Jessica currently conducts educational outreach in Biscayne Bay.










David A. Gandy, MS

Dave’s Masters examined the role of canals surrounding the Everglades as habitat for both native and nonnative fishes.

Dave currently heads the Apalachicola Field Laboratory, Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.







Kenneth Adair, Undergraduate REU student, Florida Atlantic University

Research Topic: spawning behavior of snook








Felipe Tamayo, High School Intern, Feliz Varela Senior High

Research Topic: snook foraging behavior








Diana P. Lopez, MS 

Diana’s Master’s examined population level variation in the behavioral and life history traits of nonnative African jewelfish across invasion front and interior populations.

Diana is currently a PhD student at Temple University in Amy Freestone’s lab.





Lauren McCarthy, MS

Lauren examined the segregation of shrimp species along an estuarine gradient in the coastal Everglades.

Lauren is a PhD candidate at Eastern Carolina University in Dave Chalcraft’s lab. 





Lauren Barth, MS

Lauren’s master’s examined the nesting behavior of endangered Key Largo woodrats in relation to forest metrics.

Lauren is a small mammal and bird technician at Texas A&M.