SERL Personnel

Jim Fourqurean - Principle Investigator

Dr. Fourqurean is a marine and estuarine ecologist with a special interest in benthic plant communities, food webs, and nutrient biogeochemistry. He developed a love of seagrass ecosystems while doing his dissertation research in Florida Bay. He has specialized in the application of elemental and stable isotopic composition of organisms as indicators of ecosystem processes. He is an expert in carbon storage and fluxes in coastal ecosystems, and the importance of these ecosystems to climate regulation and mitigation. He has current research interests the Florida Keys, the Gulf of Mexico, in Mexico, Panama and Bermuda, the western Mediterranean and Australia.

E-mail: | CV

Tom Frankovich - Faculty


Guanglong Qiu - Postdoctoral Associate / Visiting Scientist

Guanglong's current interests at SERL focus on the carbon storage capabilities of seagrass beds and comparing these with other ecosystems (mangroves, etc.). Guanglong also has research experience in seagrass growth dynamics and seagrass restoration.


Bryce Van Dam - Postdoctoral Researcher

Bryce is an estuarine biogeochemist branching out into the world of carbonate sands, seagrasses, and coral reefs. Some questions he hopes to address include the impact of calcifiers on the inorganic chemistry of the water column, and its effects on the air-water exchange of carbon dioxide.

E-mail: | Website | CV | Twitter: @BioGeoBryce

Sara Wilson - Lab Manager

Sara is interested in working with adaptive seagrass monitoring programs that are capable of detecting trends in seagrass cover and condition across various scales. Sara is also interested in the use of geographical information systems and database design and management for ecological and environmental research applications.

E-mail: | CV

Susie Escorcia - Research Staff


Sonja Smith - MS Candidate

Sonja's research focuses on how a cross-ecosystem subsidy of seagrass wrack can link marine and terrestrial systems, affect the biogeochemistry and microbial community of Everglades mangrove soil, and the implications for local and global carbon cycles. Sonja uses microbial respiration rates calculated from CO2 concentrations; determine sources of microbial respiration using C stable isotopes of solids, liquids, and gases; complements them with CNP nutrient analysis; and codes her analysis in R. She is also passionate about educational curriculum materials and enjoys editing documents.


Chris Lopes - MS Student

Chris' research interests include multidisciplinary studies of seagrass and coral reef communities, encompassing genetics, ecology, chemistry and biology. Chris has a particular interest in nutrient dynamics across altering seagrass and coral reef biotypes, and how this affects community structure.


Riki Bonnema - MS Student

Riki is interested in ecosystem connectivity, specifically how mobile organisms can be a external source of nutrients. She is also interested in nutrient cycles and fluxes and how changes to these processes affect or are affected by population dynamics.


David Barahona - Undergraduate Technician


Kai Lopez - Undergraduate Technician

Kai is interested in marine conservation and ecology, especially in anthropogenic impacts on an ecosystem scale. Kai recently completed an Undergraduate Thesis through FIU's Advanced Research and Creativity in Honors (ARCH) examining spatial and temporal trends in productivity of Florida Bay Thalassia testudinum with respect to salinity. Kai is also interested in designing sustainable agricultural systems that mimic natural ones.

E-mail: | CV

Kaya Carrion Banuchi - Undergraduate Technician

Kaya is interested in toxic phytoplankton, eutrophication, ocean acidification, and rising sea temperatures. Kaya loves fieldwork, and believes working in SERL has been a wonderful way to launch her research career and prepare for graduate school. Recently, Kaya has been developing a technique to understand factors that control decomposition rates in seagrass sediments. The amount of organic carbon stored in seagrass soils rival those of forests, though as anthropogenic pressures on seagrass ecosystems increase, there is concern that these historically strong sinks for atmospheric CO2 and organic carbon could shift to carbon sources.


Mia Lamirand - CREST CAChE REU Intern

Mia currently attends the University of Hawaii at Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii, and is a CREST CAChE REU summer intern working in SERL for during summer 2018. Mia is currently pursuing a B.S. in Marine Science and will graduate in May 2019. Mia is particularly interested in tropical coral reef fish community dynamics as anthropogenic stressors continue to alter reef ecosystems.


The Seagrass Ecosystems Research Lab is currently looking for ecology-focused individuals interested in research and learning lab techniques.
Contact Jim Fourqurean or Sara Wilson for details.

SERL Alumni

Jason Howard, PhD Student, 2012-2018
Claire Burgett MS Student, 2012-2017
Jennifer Sweatman Ph.D. Student, 2010-2016
Alex Perez Lab Technician 2010-2014, Lab Manager, 2014-2015
Philip Matich Lab Technician, 2014-2015
Bryan Dewsbury Ph.D Student, 2004-2014
Darrell Herbert Post-Doc, 2008-2013
Capt. Dave Ward Field Support, 2008-2013
Rachel Decker Lab Manager, 2011-2013
Amanda Bourque Ph.D Student, 2005-2012
Justin CampbellPh.D. Student 2006-2012
Elizabeth Lacey Ph.D Student, 2007-2012
Glauco Puig-Santana Lab Technician/male model, 2005-2012
Pamela Parker Lab Mangager, 2007-2012
Jeana Drake Lab Technician 2009-2010
Rebecca Bernard MS Student 2007-2010
Zayda Halun Ph.D Student 2003-2011
Anna Armitage Post-Doc 2003-2006
Dorothy "Dottie" Byron MS Student 2000-2006
Virginia "Ginny" Cornett MS Student 2000-2006
Kevin M. Cunniff MS Student 1999-2006, 2013
Braxton Davis MS Student 1995-1998
Bryan Dewsbury MS Student 2003-2006
Meredith Ferdie MS Student 1999-2002
Patricia Mumford MS Student 1996-1999
Bradley Peterson Post-doc 1998-2002
Luz Romero MS Student 1996-1999
Craig D. Rose Ph.D. 1996-2002
Sergio Ruiz MS Student 2003-2006
Leanne Rutten MS Student 1999-2002
Maureen Water MS Student 1996-1998

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