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Past Students and Postdocs

Kathryn Fagan Shamberger

Postdoctoral Investigator
Geology & Geophysics
Kathryn graduated from the University of Washington with a PhD in Chemical Oceanography. Kathryn’s research focuses on coral reefs; she is investigating the impact of anthropogenic ocean acidification on coral reef organisms as well as natural processes that alter reef water chemistry.

Hannah Barkley

Graduate Student, WHOI-MIT Joint Program in Oceanography
Geology & Geophysics
Hannah graduated from Princeton with a degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Hannah’s graduate research focuses on developing and applying tools for effective coral reef conservation under climate change, particularly ocean acidification and warming.

Elizabeth Drenkard

Graduate Student, WHOI-MIT Joint Program in Oceanography
Geology & Geophysics
Liz graduated from Cornell with degrees in Biology and Chemistry. Her thesis research combines laboratory experiments and fieldwork with global climate modeling, to investigate combined impacts of ocean acidification, warming and changing nutrient conditions on coral reefs.

Alice Alpert

Graduate Student, WHOI-MIT Joint Program in Oceanography
Geology & Geophysics
Alice graduated from Brown University with a degree in Geological Sciences. Alice’s research focuses on what the chemistry of coral skeletons can tell us about the ocean in the past. Specifically, she is interested in El Nino in the Pacific Ocean and how it might be changing due to climate change. Alice uses geochemical analyses as a tool to reconstruct past climate with the ultimate goal to understand physical processes in the climate system.

Thomas DeCarlo

Graduate Student, WHOI-MIT Joint Program in Oceanography
Geology & Geophysics
Thomas graduated from the University of San Diego with a degree in Marine Science. As a summer student fellow in our lab, Thomas conducted an independent research project to develop trace element geochemistry of coral skeletons as a tool for past ocean temperature reconstructions. Thomas is currently using coral skeletal architecture and geochemistry to study causes and mechanisms of coral stress, with the goal of quantifying coral resilience to ocean acidification of rising sea surface temperatures.

Hanny Rivera

Graduate Student, WHOI-MIT Joint Program in Oceanography
Biological Oceanography
Hanny graduated from Harvard University with a degree in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology.  Hanny is interested in understanding climate change impacts on coral reef ecosystems. In particular she hopes to understand how corals may be able tolerate environmental stress associated with climate change, such as ocean acidification and warming.

Angela H. Helbling

MSc in Geology from the Technische Universität Darmstadt, Germany
PhD in mineralogy from the Universität Heidelberg, Germany
Angela’s background is igneous geochemistry and mineralogy. She joined the lab to develop high precision X-Ray diffraction techniques to characterize and quantify the mineralogy (calcite, aragonite, high Mg calcite) and chemical composition (mol% Mg) in skeletons of corals, gorgonians, hydrozoands and coralline algae. Angela is also an expert in electron micro-probe (EMPA) and the secondary-ion mass spectrometer (SIMS) analyses.

Sara Bosshart

Graduate Student in the WHOI-MIT Joint Program in Oceanography (2010-2012)
Sara graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in Geology, and from University of Edinburgh with a masters degree in Paleoceanography. Sara’s research focused on coral-based reconstructions of Atlantic sea surface temperature over the past 500 years.

Neal Cantin

Postdoctoral Investigator (2008-2011)
Neal is now at the Australian Institute of Marine Science
Neal researched the effects of ocean warming on coral growth in the Central Red Sea.

Michael Holcomb

Former Graduate Student in the WHOI-MIT Joint Program in Oceanography.
Michael studied coral biomineralization using molecular, geochemical and crystallographic techniques. He also reared corals in culture experiments to investigate impacts of ocean acidification on zooxanthellate and azooxanthellate corals.  Michael is a former NSF graduate student fellow and MIT presidential fellow. He also won an award from the International Coral Reef Society. Michael Holcomb is now a post-doc at Centre de Scientifique, Monaco.

Casey Saenger

Graduate student in the WHOI-MIT Joint Program in Oceanography (2004-2009)
Casey Saenger is now a post-doc at Yale
Casey used both corals and foraminifera to investigate ocean temperature and circulation changes in the subtropical North Atlantic over the last 2 millenia. Casey is a former NSF graduate student fellow and won a NOAA post-doctoral fellowship to continue his studies at Yale.

Ryan Petitt

Guest Student
Ryan is an undergraduate in the Political Science program at the University of Washington. As a WHOI guest student, Ryan conduct independent research on a range of projects on the topic of coral reefs and climate change.

Alice Zicht

WHOI Guest Student
Alice is an undergraduate student in the Geology Department at Oberlin College. As a WHOI guest student, Alice spent the summer on Bermuda with Cohen’s lab group, conducting research on corals at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences.

Rinat Gabitov

WHOI-RPI Post-Doctoral Fellow (2005-2006)
Rinat Gabitov is now at UCLA
Rinat used synthetic calcites and aragonites precipitated from seawater in laboratory  precipitation experiments to investigate the factors controlling element and isotope ration fractionation between seawater and calcium carbonate at low temperatures.

Nick Jachowski

Summer Student Fellow (2006)
Nick used 3-D CAT scan images of brain coral skeletons to quantify changes in coral calcification rates on Bermuda since the 1950’s. Nick is pursuing a masters degree at Stanford.