Graduate Student

Major Professor

Project Rationale and Description

Damion Castellano

Damion A.

Dr. Cantonwine

I am looking at how the infection process of Late Leaf Spot differs within different strains of resistant peanut. I will also be testing different clearing and tissue fixation methods to produce the highest resolution images possible with both light and scanning electron microscopy. 

Jakob R.

Dr. Lokdarshi


Jaelle Hector



When the category 5 hurricane Michael passed through the St. Joseph Bay area of the Gulf of Mexico, it caused considerable damage. The storm surge reshaped the coastal landscape and the area was deluged with intense precipitation leading to changes in salinity and water temperature, high nutrient loading, and subsequent periods of low dissolved oxygen levels. I am investigating these effects on photosynthetic microalgae known as diatoms. To assess these effects, I collect samples of whole water, plankton, seagrass, and sediment each month and then identify the diatoms histologically. I can readily identify these single-celled organisms by their characteristic glass cell walls, known as frustules. I will characterize the density and variety of species in samples, which can then be compared to data taken before Hurricane Michael to assess its effect on these primary producers. 

Megan Hill

Megan N.

My thesis aims at studying the dwarf seahorse (Hippocampus zosterae) population within Tampa Bay. Seahorses are an indicator species meaning that by monitoring their populations, we can assess the health of their seagrass ecosystems. My previous research at the University of Tampa looked to identify male mate preference (since the males carry the babies) and parentage analysis to confirm monogamy in wild populations. 
Amber Holley

Amber A.

Dr. Blackmore

My thesis aims at studying a cryptic mosquito complex within the Anopheles genus which is known for its vectors. I will be looking at which species are in Lowndes county and where they reside. I will also be looking at their ability to become infected with dog heartworm. I am using PCR and gel electrophoresis to identify the genotype of individual mosquitoes and to detect the presence of heartworm within the mosquito.

Christopher Le


Dr. Lockhart

My research will focus on Gopher Tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus). I will be analyzing Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) data compiled across two decades, GPS track the movement of an Adult Gopher Tortoise at the Main Base and Bombing Range of Moody Air Force Base (MAFB), conduct a follow up survey on hatchling survival at Reed Bingham State Park, and survey burrow orientation at MAFB Bombing Range and compare it to burrow orientation data collected at MAFB Main Base.

Miracle O.

Dr. Calestani


Darshi Patel


Dr. Rose

My research focuses on the quantifying the impacts of eutrophication on the Mating behaviors, Mating success, Mate choice, and Reproductive success of dwarf seahorse (Hippocampus zosterae). Population of seahorses is collected from Tampa Bay, Florida where wide range of turbidity is recorded year wide, and hence this study will be crucial to document if this population is threatened or benefited by the presence of turbidity in the waters. I also aim to further investigate this genetically monogamous mating system to study the mate choice if it remains same over sequential pregnancies and the extent of the pair-bonding in laboratory settings.

Kenyanna Taylor

Taylor, Kenyanna N.

Dr. Cantonwine

I have always been interested in biology, but more so in the research side of it. Creating and conducting lab experiments in combination with field studies are very important to research and fascinating to me. In my study, I am interested in understanding the relationship between mixtures of sulfur and synthetic fungicides in regards to suppressing fungal leaf spot disease of peanut plants. Is this a system where both actives are codependent or is there a relationship between the plant resistance to this fungus and sulfur. Through conducting my research, I hope to find some answers in regards to this interesting topic.