PI Lauren Yeager

Lauren is an ecologist whose research focuses on understanding how global change is altering patterns in marine biodiversity, and what these altered patterns mean for associated ecosystem functions and services. She employs food web, landscape and macroecology approaches to examine how humans affect coastal systems at multiple levels (e.g., individual, population, community and ecosystem) via altered environmental conditions, changes in habitat pattern and/or removal of key species by overharvest. After completing her Ph.D. at Florida International University in 2013, she held a postdoctoral appointment at the Institute of Marine Sciences, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Science Foundation's National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC).


Greaduate Students


Spencer Keyser

I recently graduated with a B.S. in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. My research interests are largely concentrated in understanding changes community structure and function in relation to natural and anthropogenic landscape change. More specifically, I am concerned with how these community changes influence coastal avian community dynamics, but my interests in changes in biodiversity span a multitude of taxa. Before coming to UTMSI I have conducted and participated in research pertaining to demographics of California spotted owls, behavioral ecology of White-eared ground-sparrows in Costa Rica, Interior Least Tern population ecology on the Mississippi, and more.



Jenelle Estrada

Jenelle Estrada

Jenelle graduated from University of Texas at Austin studying Biology with a focus in Marine and Freshwater Science in Spring 2018. Her previous reseach focused on the effect of mangrove expansion upon the benthic and pelagic communities of tidal creeks along the Texas coast. She used tethering assays and baited underwater videos to quantify predator prey interactions and assemblages. Jenelle has previously taken part in the RIOS research education for undergraduates program through Rutgers University. Her Master's research will focus on edge effects and disturbacne in seagrass ecosystems. 



Research technicians

Kylie Holt

Kylie is interested in integrating ecology and biogeochemistry to better understand how anthropogenic activities and global change are impacting marine ecosystems. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Science in Marine and Freshwater Biology. In 2015 she studied coral reef biodiversity in response to increasing tourism in Akumal, Quintana Roo, Mexico. In 2016 she studied organic matter decomposition and sediment respiration/physical characteristics within the tidal freshwater zones of the Mission and Aransas Rivers near Port Aransas, Texas. She is currently working on a project to understand impacts of Hurricane Harvey on seagrass food webs. 


Undergraduate researchers

Patricia Janssen, Semester by the Sea 2018

Jenelle Estrada, Semester by the Sea 2017