Department of Biological Sciences

Graduate student research

Carrie in the field

Biology graduate students engage in a diversity of research projects, ranging from molecular biology and neurobiology to plant ecology and animal behavior.Their study organisms include viruses, bacteria, salt marsh plants, birds, and mammals.

You can find a listing of our current students below, along with their advisor's name and their thesis topic.

You can  browse a full list of titles of all our students' theses


Recent graduate student publications

Cronin-Fine, L, Stockwell, JD, Whitener, ZT, Labbe, EM, Willis, TV and Wilson, KA. 2013. Application of morphometric analysis to identify alewife stock structure in the Gulf of Maine. Marine and Coastal Fisheries 5:11-20.

Reistetter, E.N., Krumhardt, K., Callnan, K., Roache-Johnson, K., Saunders, J.K., Moore, L.R., and Rocap, G. 2013. Effects of phosphorus starvation versus limitation on the marine cyanobacterium Prochlorococcus MED4 II: gene expression. Environmental Microbiology. 15:2129-2143.

Krumhardt, K.M., Callnan, K., Roache-Johnson, K., Swett, T., Robinson, D., Reistetter, E.N., Saunders, J.K., Rocap, G., and Moore, L.R. 2013. Effects of phosphorus starvation versus limitation on the marine cyanobacterium Prochlorococcus MED4 I: uptake physiology. Environmental Microbiology 15:2114-2128.

Weber, K., Veilleux, E., and Harmon, J. 2012. A system for measuring longevity and fecundity in flies. Drosophila Information Service 95: 115-117.

McKay, J.L. and Maher, C.R. 2012. Relationship between blood mercury levels and components of male song in Nelson's sparrows (Ammodramus nelsoni). Ecotoxicology. 21:2391-2397.

Aschemeier, L.A. and Maher, C.R. 2011. Eavesdropping of woodchucks (Marmota monax) and eastern chipmunks (Tamias striatus) on heterospecific alarm calls. Journal of Mammalogy. 92: 493-499.

Griffin, P.J., Theodose, T., and Dionne, M. 2011. Landscape patterns of forb pannes across a northern New England salt marsh. Wetlands 31: 25-33.

Hazelton, E.L.G., Knight, T.J. and Theodose, T.A. 2010. Glutamine synthetase partitioning in native and introduced salt marsh grasses. Marine Ecology Progress Series 414: 57-64.

Fitch, R., Theodose, T., and Dionne, M. 2009. Relationships among upland development, nitrogen and plant community composition in a Maine salt marsh. Wetlands 29: 1179-1188.

Frankel, S., Concannon, J., Brusky, K., Pietrowicz, E., Giorgianni, S., Thompson, W.D. and Currie, D.A. 2009. Arsenic exposure disrupts neurite growth and complexity in vitro. Neurotoxicology 30: 529-537.

Stevick, P.T., Incze, L.S., Kraus, S.D., Rosen, S. Wolff, N. and Baukus, A. 2008. Trophic relationships and oceanography on and around a small offshore bank. Marine Ecology Progress Series 363: 15-28.

Darhower, S. and Maher, C.R. 2008. Effects of immunocontraception on behavior in fallow deer (Dama dama). Zoo Biology. 27: 49-61.

Nam, J.-S., Turcotte, T.J., Smith, P.F., Choi, S. and Yoon, J.K. 2006. Mouse cristin/R-spondin family proteins are novel ligands for the Frizzled 8 and LRP6 receptors and activate beta-catenin-dependent gene expression. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 281: 13247-13257.


Current students

Shaina BhojwaniShaina Bhojwani
B.S. Wildlife Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks (2011)
B.S. Biological Sciences, University of Alaska Fairbanks (2011)

Advisor: Jeff Walker

Thesis Topic: Swimming performance in zebrafish







Paula DrouinPaula Drouin
B.S. Natural and Applied Science, University of Southern Maine (2007)

Advisor: Ira Levine

Thesis topic: Anaerobic digestion of algae for increased methane production





Greg LaBonte with fish

Greg LaBonte
B.S. Wildlife Ecology with concentration in Fisheries, University of Maine (2014)

Advisor: Karen Wilson

Thesis topic: Using otolith microchemistry and stable isotope analysis to determine differences between juvenile alewife (Alosa psuedoharengus) in estuary and marine habitats



Igor MalenkoIgor Malenko
B.S. Biology, University of Southern Maine (2014)

Advisor: Jim Paruk

Thesis topic: Environmental factors determining the wintering distribution of Common Loons along the coast of Maine






Sean RaphSean Raph
B.A. Biology, University of Maine, Farmington (2011)

Advisor: John Wise

Thesis Topic: Effects of toxic metals on localization of cellular regulatory proteins (SAC)



Melissa Sassman

Melissa Sassman
B.S. Biology, University of Southern Maine (2012)

Advisor: Doug Currie 

Thesis Topic: Effects of radiation on neurite outgrowth and maintenance





 Aaron SvedlowAaron Svedlow

B.S. Environmental Science, University of New Hampshire (2004)

Advisor: Jeff Walker

Thesis Topic: Phenology of spring bird migration in Maine




Shri VerrillShri Verrill
B.A. Liberal Studies, Union Institute and University (2005)

Advisor: Curtis Bohlen

Thesis Topic: Applying principles of restoration ecology to landscape design, using ethnobotanically applicable plants that maintain ecosystem integrity while encouraging human interaction and education





Amy WebbAmy Webb
B.S. Environmental Science, University of Southern Maine (2014)

Advisor: Karen Wilson

Thesis Topic: Life history strategies, migration patterns and habitat use of alewives in coastal Maine



M.S. theses

Student (Year submitted)


Brandon Braden (2015)

Parental experience and its effects on reproductive success in common loons

Victor Gagne (2015)

Arsenic disrupts cell morphology and levels of α-tubulin post-translational modifications in the PC12 cell line

Abby Pearson (2014)

Approaches to restoration: assessing the roles of structure and function in saltmarsh restoration in light of climate change

Jennifer Hiltonsmith (2014)

Physiological responses of Mytilus edulis exposed to Corexit 9500A and oil

Anne Honeywell (2014)

Intensity, rate, and outcome of agonistic interactions in harbor seals (Phoca vitulina concolor) in relation to density on haul-out ledges

Molly Payne (2014)

Retrospective examination of habitat use by blueback herring (Alosa aestivalis) using otolith microchemical methods

Peter Drake (2014)

Growth rate and fatty acid profile of Koliella antarctica in response to osmotic conditions

Jess Wheeler (2013)

Flying speed in Drosophila melanogaster selected for fast flight

Hollis Smith (2013)

Distribution and status of Maine crayfish

Justine Roths (2013)

The varied roles of plant responses in species interactions

Emily Veilleux (2013)

Life history adaptation in Drosophila melanogaster selected for flying speed

Timothy Divoll (2013)

Mist-netting, passive ultrasonic detection, and stable isotopes determine community structure and temporal variation in bats at Acadia National Park, Maine

Ellen McCann Labbe (2013)

Influence of stocking history and geography on the population genetics of alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus) in Maine Rivers

Erika Diffin (2012)

Nutrient-dependent steroidogenic activity of the prothoracic gland in Manduca sexta

Sandra Fussell (2012)

Analysis of the spatial ecology and expansion rate of Phragmites australis at Drakes Island Marsh in Wells, Maine

Sean Casto (2012)

Influence of weather on nocturnal avian migration in southern Maine

Carrie Lewis (2011)

Kin recognition in woodchucks (Marmota monax) using scent from the oral angle gland

Elizabeth Mitchell (2011)

Vegetation response to predicted increased tidal marsh inundation in northern New England brackish marshes

Erik Pietrowicz (2010)

Arsenic metabolism and developmental neurotoxicity

Jennifer McKay (2010)

Relationship between blood mercury levels and components of male song in Nelson's sparrows (Ammodramus nelsoni)

Victor Serio, Jr. (2010)

Detection and genetic analysis of inducible prophages in bacteria from late stage legions of epizootic shell disease of Americanl lobsters (Homarus americanus)

Heather Anne Wright (2010)

Biogeographical analysis of picoplankton populations across the Patagonian Shelf Break during austral summer

Karoline Perry (2010)

Culture-dependent Physiology Studies of Bacterial Isolates at Callahan Mine

Kevin Regan (2010)

Effects of wildfire on spatial organization of pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) males

Violetta Priestley (2009)

After floral dip: seed selection and the effects of Hygromycin B on Arabidopsis thaliana

Kate Callnan (2009)

Phosphorus uptake comparison between marine picoplankton

Lisa Aschemeier (2009)

Eavesdropping of woodchucks and eastern chipmunks on heterospecific alarm calls

Lisa Vickers (2008)

The role of soil nutrients and arbuscular mycorrhizae in the invasion of common reed (Phragmites australis) in New England salt marshes

Kim Emery (2008)

Genotoxicity in the common loon

Taryn Turcotte (2008)

Characterization of R-spondin signaling and its role in osteogenic differentiation of mouse mesenchymal progenitor cells

Adam Bemis (2008)

The effects of sodium arsenite on cell division and neurite outgrowth in human and rat neuronal cell lines

Laura Jones (2008)

Succession in a large restored tidal marsh: first-year vegetation patterns and the role of wrack in colonization

Adam Baukus (2008)

Importance of internal waves for the distribution, density and trophic dynamics of euphausiids on a small offshore bank

Camilla Fecteau (2008)

The effects of mercury on the productivity of belted kingfishers (Ceryle alcycon) on three rivers in the Eastern United States

Joseph Keierleber (2008)

Cytotoxic and genotoxic effects of zinc chromate on human lung cells and the role of Mre11 in the repair of chromium-induced DNA double-strand breaks

Samuel Frankel (2008)

The effects of arsenic on the neuronal cytoskeleton

Rosemarie Fitch (2008)

The relationship between salt marsh upland development, nitrogen, and plant community composition

Kristen Krumhardt (2007)

Phosphate and ATP uptake kinetics of Prochlorococcus MED4 grown in phosphorus-limited chemostat cultures

Eric Hazelton (2007)

Partitioning of glutamine synthetase in native and invasive salt marsh grasses

Alexis Dayton (2007)

Responses of primary production and species composition to nutrient enrichment in a perennial forb salt marsh plant community

Pamela Griffin (2007)

Islands of biodiversity: a landscape characterization of salt marsh forb pannes of the Little River Salt Marsh, Wells, ME, USA

Sarah Darhower (2006)

Effects of immunocontraception on behavior in fallow deer (Dama dama)

Kathryn Roache-Johnson (2006)

A cell-specific detection method for rapid assessment of phosphorus stress in marine phytoplankton and bacterioplankton

Crystal Pietrowicz (2006)

A century of experiments using specialized apparatus to study genetic variability, learning, and speciation in Drosophila

Matthew Harris (2005)

 Ecdysteroid regulated transcription in Drosophila melanogaster