Jeremy is a quantitative marine ecologist with broad research interests mostly focusing on the life history and ecology of marine organisms associated with reef ecosystems, including California rocky reefs and kelp forests, coral reefs in Hawaii, and anthropogenic reef habitats and restoration (e.g., artificial reefs, breakwaters, submerged structures of oil platforms and renewable energy developments). Most of his work has an applied focus with an emphasis on habitat value assessment, marine conservation, fisheries ecology and marine protected areas. As a Professor at Cal Poly Pomona he teaches R coding, biostatistics, fish and marine ecology field courses.
Jeremy received his B.S. from UC Santa Barbara, and his Ph.D. from University of Hawaii Manoa where he was part of the Hawaii Cooperative Fishery Research Unit (USGS) and studied the life history and ecology of Yellow Tang with applications to managing its commercial aquarium fishery using marine protected areas. He did a postdoc at Occidental College with the Vantuna Research Group with whom he continues to collaborate extensively as the Associate Director, working on a variety of applied marine ecology projects across the Southern California Bight.
Matt's thesis project is on fish habitat use patterns on artificial reef structures in Santa Monica Bay and is working on both our BOEM and CSU COAST SSINP projects processing sonar data to quantify artificial reef habitat characteristics. He also received a CSU COAST Graduate Student Research Award, as well as competitive CPP Biological Sciences Department Scholarship. Matt also works as a CPP ASI Scuba Dive Center student assistant and received his PADI Dive Master certification through that program. He began working in the lab as undergraduate after transferring from Pasadena City College, processing gut contents samples for Jacob's Garibaldi diet study. He also spent a summer doing a CSU COAST Summer Internship with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife working with the CDFW San Diego office on their Marine Invertebrate Fisheries Management Program. In the field he completed his Padi Open Water SCUBA certification through the BRIC, and his AAUS Scientific Diver Certification and MOTC boat operator certification through SCMI.
Maggie is currently developing her thesis project on fish habitat use patterns on artificial reefs while working on our BOEM and CSU COAST SSINP funded grant research. She is participating in a competitive NSF Research Traineeship Sustainable Oceans: from Policy to Science to Decisions program hosted by UC Davis and received competitive CPP Biological Sciences Department Scholarships. She also works as CPP ASI Scuba Dive Centersupervisor and PADI Dive Master and is getting her PADI SCUBA instructor certification through the BRIC's program. Prior to joining the Claisse lab, Maggie worked as a Marine Science Instructor and Aquarist at the Catalina Island Marine Institute, and as a Research Technician at The Virginia Institute of Marine Science. She graduated with a B.A. from St. John’s College (Annapolis) and was awarded a NOAA-College Supported Internship at the NOAA Sandy Hook Lab. Maggie has also completed her AAUS Scientific Diver Certification and MOTC boat operator certification through SCMI. Click here to see the Github hosted website she made using Quarto as part of our BIO 5100/L graduate level R and stats course.
Daniel started the master’s program in Fall 2022 and is currently developing his thesis project focused on analyzing patterns of temporal change in ichthyoplankton using the Vantuna Research Group's 50 year data set of monthly ichthyoplankton collections at King Harbor. He also received a CSU COAST Graduate Student Research Award, as well as competitive CPP Biological Sciences Department Scholarship. He previously graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with a B.S. in biology and emphasis in zoology in 2018. During his time at Cal Poly, he worked at the Biotrek providing educational tours including handled and presented reptiles. He has his AAUS Scientific Diver Certification and MOTC boat operator certification through SCMI. Daniel also works as Research Assistant & Larval Fish Taxonomist with the Vantuna Research Group at Occidental College where he sorts and does taxonomic identification of ichthyoplankton, assists with plankton collection trips and is part of the kelp forest monitoring dive team, and trains and supervises undergraduates in ichthyoplankton sorting and data entry.
Casey is our newest graduate student and is currently developing his thesis project and working on our CSU COAST SSINP project processing sonar data to quantify artificial reef habitat characteristics. He began working in the lab his senior year as a CPP undergrad processing fishes for a larger lab project investigating the effects of the Palos Verdes MPAs on fish age structure. He also successfully wrote a proposal for and was awarded a CSU COAST undergraduate research award to fund his time to do a related literature review and work on this project and ultimately presented the work as a poster at the Cal Poly Pomona 16th Annual Science Research Symposium. He also completed both his PADI Open Water and Advanced SCUBA certifications through the CPP BRIC SCUBA Program, followed by getting his AAUS Scientific Diver Certification and MOTC boat operator certification through SCMI. Casey also interned as a student assistant at Cal Poly’s Rain Bird BioTrek rainforest learning center.
We are currently recruiting new undergrad research students.
After completing her undergraduate degree in Environmental Biology, Natalie continued working in the lab on our CSU COAST SSINP project writing R code to quantify habitat characteristics from sonar data layers using the MultiscaleDTM R package. She began working in the lab her senior year processing fishes, removing and weighing otoliths and gonads, for a larger lab project investigating the effects of the Palos Verdes MPAs on fish age structure. She also successfully wrote a proposal for and was awarded a CSU COAST undergraduate research award to fund her time to do a related literature review and work on this project and ultimately presented the work as a poster at the Cal Poly Pomona 16th Annual Science Research Symposium. She also received her PADI Open Water and Advanced SCUBA certifications through the CPP BRIC SCUBA Program. As an undergraduate Natalie was focused on building her quantitative skills through doing a GIS minor and took the graduate level BIO 5100/L Statistics for Biologists using R course.
Brenda's thesis research focused on the spatial variation in diet composition of Garibaldi (Hypsypops rubicundus) and how diet correlates with their life history (growth patterns) across artificial and natural reef habitats and a gradient in environmental conditions. She also received a CSU COAST Graduate Student Research Award, as well as competitive CPP Biological Sciences Department Scholarships. She also works as CPP ASI Scuba Dive Center as a PADI Dive Master and is getting her PADI SCUBA instructor certification through the BRIC's program. She completed her PADI Open Water and Advanced SCUBA certifications through the BRIC, and her AAUS Scientific Diver Certification and MOTC boat operator certification through SCMI. She received her B.S in Biology with an emphasis in Zoology from Cal Poly Pomona. Brenda is currently working as Data & Assessment Coordinator at CPP ASI and will be applying for PhD programs.
James's thesis research focused on using stereo-video camera systems to study fish assemblage and habitat use patterns on the Palos Verdes Reef Restoration Project. He also received a CSU COAST Graduate Student Research Award for his research, as well as multiple competitive CPP Biological Sciences Department Scholarships. He received a B.S. from USC in Environmental Science, where he did an NSF REU on Catalina Island, spending a summer as a scientific diver assisting a graduate student with her abalone habitat use project. He also developed protocols for collecting, transplanting, and monitoring juvenile kelp plants as part of the Kelp Biofuel project, and worked on on coral genetics projects in the Kenkel Lab. After graduating James entered a Ph.D. program at Florida International University (FIU) working in the Rehage Laboratory for Coastal Fish Ecology & Fisheries.
Daniel began working in the lab his senior year helping Brenda with processing Garibaldi guts for her diet composition study. He then did his own undergraduate research project funded by CSU COAST analyzing variation in Garibaldi gut length data that had been collected and then presented his research as a poster at the Cal Poly Pomona 15th Annual Science Research Symposium. He also completed his PADI Open Water SCUBA certification through the CPP BRIC SCUBA Program. After graduation Daniel then continued to work as a CPP ASI Scuba Dive Center assistant and is planning to get his masters in marine biology.
Whitney began working in the lab processing gut contents samples for Jacob's Garibaldi diet study. In 2021 she received a CSU Edison STEM-NET Student Research Award to analyze data on fish size and habitat use patterns on oil platforms, and gave an oral presentation of her results at their virtual conference. In the field she completed her Padi Open Water SCUBA certification through the BRIC, and her AAUS Scientific Diver Certification and MOTC boat operator certification through SCMI. In summer 2021 Whitney participated in a CSU COAST Summer Internship working with California Department of Fish and Wildlife on a mark-recapture study for the emerging box crab fishery. She also works as a CPP ASI Scuba Dive Center student assistant and is receiving her PADI Dive Master certification through that program. After graduating Whitney entered a Master's Program at CSU Long Beach working in The Shark Lab.
Gabby helped out with many projects in the lab and received CSU COAST Undergraduate Research funding for her project analyzing stereo-video data to quantify Yellow Tang abundance inside and out of protected areas in Hawaii. She was also awarded fellowships in the NSF funded SPIRES and then LSAMP programs at CPP. In the field, she completed her Padi Open Water and Advanced SCUBA certifications through the BRIC, the initial steps to eventually getting her AAUS Scientific Diver Certification, and was MOTC boat operator certified. In summer 2021, Gabby participated in the CSU COAST Northern California Marine Invertebrate Fisheries Management Internship at the UC Davis Bodega Bay Marine Laboratory. On top of all this, Gabby was the CPP Science Council President for 2020-2021 and has helped build the lab's (this) website! After graduation Gabby entered a Ph.D. program in Ecology at UC Davis and had her first year funded through the Sustainable Oceans NRT.
Jacob's master's thesis research focused on diet composition of Garibaldi (Hypsypops rubicundus) and he found that it varied between breakwater and natural reef habitats, and that it varied geographically across southern California (LINK TO PUBLICATION HERE). He also received his B.S in Biology from Cal Poly Pomona, and worked in the lab as an undergraduate on a variety of projects. Before starting the master's program he worked at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL) where he gained experience in vertical long line, bottom longline, bottom trawling, fish tagging, otolith sectioning, fish identification, and general boating experience. After finishing his master's he's worked as a research associate for the Vantuna Research Group, with the biotech company Curative, and as a lecturer at CPP in the Biological Sciences Department and at Mt. Sac Communiity College.
Austin's master's thesis research focused on habitat use and nesting patterns of Garibaldi (Hypsypops rubicundus) on artificial reefs in southern California and potential implications on reproductive success. He also received a Southern California Academy of Sciences (SCAS) student research grant for his research, as well as a CPP Biological Sciences Department Teaching Associate Award. Austin also received his B.S in Environmental Biology from Cal Poly Pomona, and as an undergraduate he assisted with the lab's California native abalone aquaculture development and wild population restoration project. Since finishing his Masters he has worked at Curative on automated processing of COVID test samples, and with the Vantuna Research Group as a scientific diver and field research assistant, and with the environmental consulting firm Rincon Consultants as a field research tech.
Ben's master's thesis research focused on the rapid response of urchin gonad production to kelp forest restoration (LINK TO PUBLICATION HERE) He also received a CSU COAST Graduate Student Research Award for his research. Previously he worked on an ARI funded abalone aquaculture and wild population restoration project. Since graduating he has been an Ocean Recovery Scientist for The Nature Conservancy in California. Before that he was also the Marine Programs Project Manager for The Bay Foundation, an LA based non-profit working to restore coastal marine environments. Prior to joining the Claisse Lab, Ben has worked as a kelp forest monitoring diver for the Channel Islands National Park, and a biological science technician for the Southern California Marine Institute and the Vantuna Research Group.
Chelsea Muñoz Williams
Chelsea's master's thesis research focused on spatial variation in the life history of the Garibaldi (Hypsypops rubicundus), a damselfish native to kelp forest ecosystems in southern California and Baja California, Mexico (LINK TO PUBLICATION HERE). She found they grow larger on breakwater than natural reefs, grow larger and live longer in cooler locations in southern California. She was also able to validate the annual periodicity of otolith increment formation and discovered they can live at least 57 years! Chelsea currently works as the Assistant Director of the Vantuna Research Group at Occidental College.
Michael helped maintain the CPP Biological Sciences Department's aquarium room, and assisted graduate students in the lab with research on the reproductive biology of Garibaldi. He then worked at the Los Angeles Zoo as an Life Support Systems Operator, then at the Monterey Bay Aquarium as Life Support & Water Quality Specialist. As an undergraduate he also interned and volunteered at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, CA.
John put his R coding and GIS skills to work assisting with multiple projects in the lab. He's now in our master's program, (joining the botanical dark side) studying functional plant morphology in Dr. Ed Bobich's lab. Regardless of his decision to move to the dark side (plants), we are all excited to see what his research uncovers and appreciate the great contributions he made to the lab!
Shannon learned to processed Garibaldi gonad histological samples and helped out with other projects in the lab.
Stephanie worked in the lab for two years, received a CSU COAST Undergraduate Research Award to develop histological methods for Garibaldi gonad samples, and presented a poster on her project at the CPP Science Student Research Symposium. She also assisted with maintaining and digitizing the department's museum fish collection. Since graduating, she participated in the San Diego Zoo/San Diego Zoo Safari Park - Exotic Animal Nutrition Summer Fellow Program, and put her histology skills to work at a biotech company in San Diego.
Elena worked in the lab processing Garibaldi gonad samples, and assisted with maintaining and digitizing the department's museum fish collection. Since graduating she has worked in a tea shop, been a manager at an escape room, and is obtaining a license in dog handling/training.
Alex was a master's program student in our lab for one year and was funded by a USC Sea Grant Traineeship. As part of that project she wrote R Code for analyzing patterns of fish assemblages on California's offshore oil platforms which resulted in her being an author on a publication! Eventually though, the allure of working with numbers was too great, and she decided to leave the program to work for a accounting firm, pursue a degree at ASU in accounting, and is on her way to becoming a CPA.