Quantitative Marine Ecology Lab



Rock Talk at Shoals Marine Lab!

This summer I had the honor of being invited by Shoals Marine Laboratory as an invited speaker for their summer seminar series called “Rock Talks”! I took the ferry over to Shoals early on Tuesday July 11th to explore the island life as well as make connections with the interns and other students who were spending their summer there. My Rock Talk was focused in two parts: (1) My career journey in STEM and Marine Science and (2) My M.S Research. During the career journey portion of my tal...

Sophie defends her MS

We are really proud of QMEL member Sophie Wulfing for defending her MS today! Her work involved building mathematical models of octopus fisheries in Madagascar. You can read her chapter 1 work as it is already out as a preprint. Sophie Wulfing, Ahilya Sudarshan Kadba, Mez Baker-Médard, and Easton R. White. Using mechanistic models to assess temporary closure strategies for small scale fisheries Sophie is also finishing up a manuscript on incorporating human behavior, and social hierarchies,...

New paper - Quantitative biology education

We have a new paper out today on how to improve quantitative biology education. You can read a press release on the paper here or download the pdf of the paper. Cuddington, Kim, Karen C. Abbott, Frederick R. Adler, Mehmet Aydeniz, Rene Dale, Louis J. Gross, Alan Hastings, Elizabeth A Hobson, Vadim A Karatayev, Alexander Killion, Aasakiran Madamanchi, Michelle L Marraffini, Audrey L McCombs, Widodo Samyono, Shin-Han Shiu, Karen H Watanabe, Easton R White. Challenges and opportunities to build...

UNH Undergraduate Research Conference

We were thrilled to have a two students present their work at the 2023 UNH Undergraduate Research Conference. Both students were co-supervised with Dr. Brittany Jellison. The student presentations were focused on developing and applying our oyster biosensor technology to study oyster responses to predators. The biosensors measure the gaping (opening and closing) behavior of oysters. Michaela Edwards (Marine Biology, BS) focused on the biological applications of the technology that was built b...

Ana and Drew receive STAF awards!

We are thrilled to share that QMEL graduate students, Ana Silverio and Drew Villeneuve, have been awarded Summer Teaching Assistant Fellowships. The fellowships acknowledge their excellence in teaching over the past year and will support their research during summer 2023. Congrats!

Galapagos research program

This past January, Easton White headed south to the Galapagos Islands for his second trip to the archipelago. Easton received a Charles Darwin Sustainability Fellowship to conduct research in the region. He is working with local scientists to study industrial fishing in and around the islands. The work builds on prior work by Easton and a previous QMEL lab member, Julia Saltzman, on the dynamics of marine predator populations in the region.


New shellfish research program

QMEL is embarking on a new local research program. We received a grant from the New Hampshire Agricultural Experimental Station to explore how extreme events affect shellfish, especially oysters and New Hampshire. The project involves our collaborators in the Jellison Lab, local New Hampshire shellfish farmers, and The Nature Conservancy. This project will be a core part of the lab over the next several years. The project will involve data analysis, mathematical modeling, field work, and la...

Barbara Spiecker joins the lab

We are thrilled to have Dr. Barbara Spiecker join the lab as a postdoctoral fellow. Barbara is a broadly trained biologist with a strong field and data science background. Within QMEL, Barbara will focus on developing better long-term environmental monitoring programs. You can read more about her and her work here.

Ana Silverio presents her work during DBS seminar series

Ana Silverio presented some preliminary findings from her MS work today as part of the Department of Biological Sciences students seminar series. Her work focused on how Texas recreational coastal fisheries are affected by extreme events, such as hurricanes and freeze events.

Julia Saltzman successfully defends her MS!

Big news from QMEL today. Julia Saltzman has successfully defended her MS thesis! She delivered a terrific public lecture with folks attending both in person and online. Her work focused on marine predator trends at Cocos Island, Costa Rica. She has already submitted one of her chapters for publication with another manuscript in the works. Julia will be missed in the lab. She is moving onto bigger and better things as she will start a PhD. She will work with Dr. Mariana Fuentes at Florida St...

First-Generation College Day

In the USA, November 8th marks the annual National First-Generation College Day. This day is a celebration of being first gen, a time to unpack the hidden curriculum, and an opportunity to connect with others with similar life experiences. Definitions vary but being “first gen” usually means your parents didn’t go to college or you are the first in your family to attend college. There are other definitions and related terms, including those that are the First Gen in STEM or First Gen Graduate...

The WeOutHere Podcast featuring Ana Silverio

:rotating_light: I’m on a podcast! :tropical_fish: I had the honor of being a guest on The WeOutHere Podcast hosted by Alexi Grousis and Allison Jones to talk about the first time I ever went snorkeling! Check it out here on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or join their Pateron. The WeOutHere Pod was created by Alexi and Allison to have a place to hear the stories of Black, brown, and indigenous folks in science and nature. It is at its core a storytelling podcast where its central goal is simply...

Summer Survey on the West Coast

This summer I participated in the US West Coast Groundfish Bottom Trawl Survey. This annual survey spans the entire West Coast of the contiguous US. It was started in 2003 to address, manage, and restore rockfish stocks, a fishery that collapsed in the late 1990’s. Thanks to collective efforts from scientists, economists, and industry workers alike, the fishery was able to fully reopen January 1, 2020. The survey continues to document and manage west coast groundfish stocks. Sampling consists...

QMEL field season starts!

QMEL’s first New Hampshire field season is officially underway! We have four undergraduate interns in the lab this summer. Melanie Carolan (Vassar College) and Harris Krasner (University of New Hampshire) worked with QMEL graduate students Ana Silverio and Julia Saltzman to build BRUVs, or Baited Remote Underwater Video cameras. The small PVC contraptions house a GoPro camera, temperature and light sensors, and a mesh bag for bait. Melanie is spending the summer deploying these cameras at Sho...

Andrew Villeneuve joins the lab!

We are very excited to have Andrew Villeneuve joining the lab. He will be starting in the marine biology PhD program this summer. His work will focus on extreme events and marine ecosystems. You can read about his work on his website.

Easton delivers presentation in SMSOE series

This week, Easton gave a presentation in the UNH School of Marine Sciences and Ocean Engineering new faculty series. He talked about the lab’s ongoing work in Madagascar and upcoming projects in the Galapagos and New Hampshire.

New Preprint - Are funny science titles cited more?

Our new preprint (link here) has received a lot of attention on Twitter and in the media. In the study, we show that funny titles can sometimes help increase total citations of an article. Original blog post from lead author Stephen Heard Coverage in Nature Marginal Revolution blog Prelights page And on various Twitter threads here and here

QMEL represents at 2022 Benthic Ecology Meeting

This week, most of the lab attended the Benthic Ecology meeting in Portsmouth, NH. It was a really productive meeting with lots of good talks and posters. Both Easton and Julia presented their work at the meeting. Julia talked about her work on using Instagram to monitor sawfish populations in Florida. Sophie gave a poster on her recent work focused on octopus population modeling

Easton joins Frontiers editorial board.

Easton was recently named an Associate Editor at the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. He is excited to serve the scientific community in this capacity.

Easton speaks at Blue Economy event

Easton recently joined other scientists at UNH’s Blue Economy Sandpit. The event was hosted by UNHInnovation with the help of marketing partners the World Ocean Council and the National Offshore Wind R&D Consortium. The event was designed to provide industry attendees with an opportunity to network and collaborate with UNH researchers who cover a wide range of expertise.

New Paper - Detecting population trends for US marine mammals

We have a new paper out today on trends for US marine mammal populations. Easton R. White, Zachary Schakner, Amber Bellamy, and Mridula Srinivasan Detecting population trends for US marine mammals. Conservation Science and Practice A few key takeaways: Despite their importance, we found that only 20\% (n = 49) of marine mammal stocks had some form of trend analysis to study changes over time We found that of marine mammal stocks with trend analysis, 61\% were increasing, 12\% of sto...


2021 Inaugural DBS Chili cookoff

With the semester winding down, a few members of the department organized the inaugural DBS Chili-cookoff. Graduate students, postdocs, faculty, and staff joined in on the fun. It was a great time to reconnect as a department after a busy fall semester. We had eight contestants for the best chili. Our own Sophie Wulfing actually won for best chili. Over the course of the Fall semester, graduate students took turns presenting their work during weekly seminars. At the chili cookoff, votes w...

New Paper - Distant water industrial fishing in developing countries - A case study of Madagascar

We have a new paper out today on distant water fishing vessels in Madagascar. You can read about the paper below or in this press release. White, Easton R., Merrill Baker-Médard, Valeriia Vakhitova, Samantha Farquhar, and Tendro Tondrasoa Ramaharitra. Distant water industrial fishing in developing countries: A case study of Madagascar. Ocean & Coastal Management 216 (2022): 105925.

2022 PhD opening in quantitative marine ecology

The Quantitative Marine Ecology Lab (QMEL) at the University of New Hampshire is recruiting a PhD student interested in using mathematical modeling or statistical tools to address issues related to the ocean. This work could involve metapopulation modeling, sustainable seafood, and/or the role of extreme events in marine systems. All lab members must be: Decent human beings (we don’t work with jerks) Interested in marine systems and using quantitative tools (e.g., mathematical models, s...

QMEL attends workshop on graduate student mental health

Members of QMEL recently attended a workshop on graduate student mental health. This is a topic we take very seriously as a lab group. The workshop was attended by graduate students, staff, and faculty. We discussed ongoing and potential new opportunities to continue working on mental health in academia in general. Here are a few resources and readings: https://www.unh.edu/health/services/medical-services/mental-health https://www.unh.edu/pacs/ https://www.gograd.org/resources/grad-st...

Opening for MS or PhD student to start 2022

The Quantitative Marine Ecology Lab (QMEL) at the University of New Hampshire is recruiting a MS or PhD student interested in using mathematical modeling or statistical tools to address issues related to the ocean. This work could involve metapopulation modeling, sustainable seafood, or the role of extreme events in marine systems. Go to https://quantmarineecolab.github.io/join/ for more information on the lab and how to apply.

2021 Inaugural Lab Retreat

With the semester underway, we took Friday afternoon to meet as a lab for the first of many annual retreats. It was the first time where everyone in the lab was together as Wilton Burns was in town for the week from North Carolina. We spent the afternoon at Jackson Estuarine Laboratory. It was a perfect sunny and clear day to be outside. The setting was a perfect venue for stepping back from our day-to-day work and reflecting on our core values, how we do science, diversity and inclusion, and...

UNH Fall 2021 semester begins!

The Fall 2021 semester at the University of New Hampshire starts today! It will be the first full semester for the lab at UNH. Easton will be teaching both introductory biology (BIOL 412) for undergraduates and a new Data Science with R course for graduate students. The lab is growing with three graduate students starting this semester. You can read more about their work on the Team page. Fingers crossed for a healthy and safe Fall semester given we are still battling COVID-19!

Shoals Shark Biology and Conservation

Shark Biology and Conservation at Shoals Marine Lab Last month, I was lucky enough to spend two weeks at Shoals Marine Lab. Shoals is a research station which is centered around undergraduate education and is run collabratively by University of New Hampshire and Cornell University. I was the teaching assistant for their Shark Biology and Conservation course. This was awesome, because not only was I able to talk about my favorite thing (sharks) all day- but it also solidified that I do in fac...

Easton joins CoastWise group for workshop at Shoals

Easton is part of a new NOAA-funded CoastWise program. New Hampshire CoastWise is designed to forge connections between students, researchers, practitioners, and decision-makers around the state to build a more resilient and sustainable future. Throughout the year, CoastWise participants come together to attend workshops and spend time in the field – learning about coastal issues, building a repertoire of skills, networking with peers and partners, and gaining first-hand knowledge of and conn...

New Paper - An algorithm for quantifying and characterizing misleading trajectories in ecological processes

We have a new paper out today that builds on some of my past work on species monitoring. Bahlai, C.A., White, E.R., Perrone, J.D., Cusser, S. and Whitney, K.S., 2021. The Broken Window: An algorithm for quantifying and characterizing misleading trajectories in ecological processes. Ecological Informatics, p.101336. Imagine a short time series of three years for chipmunk monitoring on campus. Over those three years, there is a decline in the number of chipmunk observed. Is this concerning? O...

POSITION FILLED - Recruiting a masters student for Fall 2021

We are recruiting a M.S. student (to start Fall 2021) to work on one of three possible questions: 1) small scale fisheries management, 2) the role of extreme events in ecological systems, or 3) the effect of COVID-19 on sustainable seafood. You can find more information on the position here.

Julia Saltzman joins the lab!

I am thrilled to announce Julia Saltzman has joined the lab as a graduate student! Julia graduated from the University of Miami in 2021 with her bachelor’s in marine science, biology, and ecosystem science and policy. Her research at UNH will focus on socio-ecological questions in small-scale tropical fisheries and species monitoring. You can read more about Julia and her work here. Welcome Julia!

Moving to New Hampshire!

We are moving to New Hampshire! After two wonderful years at the University of Vermont, I have officially accepted, and started, a tenure track faculty position in the biology department at the University of New Hampshire. It is a perfect institution and location for my research. Emily and I will be moving there sometime this summer.


New Paper - The effect of COVID-19 on US seafood and fisheries

We have a new paper out today that has been receiving lots of press coverage: White, Easton R., Halley Froehlich, Jessica A. Gephart, Richard S. Cottrell, Trevor Branch, Rahul Agrawal Bejarano, Julia Baum. 2021. Early effects of COVID-19 on US fisheries and seafood consumption. Fish and Fisheries. In the top 1% Altmetric scores of all articles ever tracked Picked up by over 200 news outlets Referenced in a US Congressional Report