Institute at Brown for Environment and SocietyIBES

2013-2014 Fellows

Matthew Bevil '14 is a marine biology concentrator interested in the processes that generate and maintain coastal ecosystems. He is working on a joint Voss project with fellow undergraduate Sinead Crotty in collaboration with Professor Mark Bertness (Ecology & Evolutionary Biology) and Dr. Kenny Raposa (Narragansett Bay Estuarine Research Reserve). The group will assess the recent spread of salt marsh die-off into Narragansett Bay. Creek bank die-off has been documented in Cape Cod marshes, but only recently arrived in Rhode Island. The team will investigate how patterns of die-off relate to shoreline development, recreational fishing, and other human and environmental factors. Through this project, they hope to inform future coastal conservation and management. Matthew is from Mary Esther, FL and is on the Track & Field Team at Brown. In his spare time, he enjoys kayaking, swimming, and volleyball.

Erin Capra '14 is a Biology concentrator interested in conservation biology. She is working with Professor Dov Sax (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology) and Nancy Green (US Fish and Wildlife Service) to assess the risk that climate change may pose to endangered plants.  She will investigate whether areas beyond the native ranges of these endangered plants could be suitable for relocation of at risk species. Erin is a member of Brown’s women’s Ultimate team and the Meiklejohn peer advising program.  She loves lakes, playing board games, being outside, and reading.

 

Elizabeth Castner '14 is an Environmental Science concentrator interested in ecology and sustainable agriculture. Together with Voss postdoctoral associate Rebecca Ryals and Professor Meredith Hastings (Geological Sciences) and Mark Dubin (Chesapeake Bay Program), she is investigating how agricultural practices in the Chesapeake Bay watershed influence how nutrient cycling and nitrogen emissions at a landscape scale. By collaborating with the Chesapeake Bay Program, Elizabeth hopes to contribute to scientific understanding of human-environment dynamics in the Chesapeake watershed, and what implications they have for policy. Elizabeth plays the flute in the Brown Band and enjoys learning to play new instruments, cycling, and gardens.

Karen Cortes '14 is a Marine Biology concentrator interested in marine conservation science and policy. She is working with Professor Heather Leslie (Ecology & Evolutionary Biology/Environmental Studies) to apply the Ocean Health Index to Narragansett Bay. The Ocean Health Index framework provides an integrative measure of ocean health, based on a range of benefits provided to people by coastal and marine ecosystems, including food provision, carbon storage, coastal protection, and clean waters. Karen’s particular interest is in clean water and how changes in water quality influence the provision of a wide array of benefits provided to people by estuarine environments like Narragansett Bay. By downscaling the ocean health framework to the Bay, Karen hopes to contribute knowledge relevant to the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, The Nature Conservancy and other governmental and non-governmental institutions engaged in marine management and conservation.

Sinead Crotty '14 is a Biology concentrator, with a focus in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology. Together with fellow undergraduate Matthew Bevil, Professor Mark Bertness (Ecology & Evolutionary Biology) and Dr. Kenny Raposa (Narragansett Bay Estuarine Research Reserve), Sinead will investigate how patterns of salt marsh die-off relate to shoreline development, recreational fishing, and other human and environmental factors. Creek bank die-off has been documented in Cape Cod marshes, but only recently arrived in Rhode Island. Through this project, they hope to inform future coastal conservation and management. This will be Sinead’s first field research opportunity in Ecology, and builds on earlier GIS work she has done, also with Prof. Bertness, on the invasion of Phragmites australis into Narragansett Bay marshes. She is a Meiklejohn Peer Advisor and a Biology undergraduate teaching assistant.

Arisa Lohmeier '14 is an Environmental Science concentrator interested in botany and reconciling development and conservation goals. Together with Professor Erika Edwards (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology), Voss postdoctoral associate Radika Bhaskar, and Francisco Mora (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México), Arisa plans to investigate tropical dry forest regeneration in abandoned pastureland in Jalisco, Mexico. Arisa’s ultimate goal is to understand how management can facilitate forest regeneration, and in turn contribute to sustainable land use practices. Arisa is from Rhode Island, and was the sustainability coordinator for A Better World by Design 2012. She also was a coordinator for the Brown Market Shares Program.

Rebekah Stein '14 is a Geology-Biology concentrator Together with fellow undergraduate Conor Sullivan and Professor Stephen Porder (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology), Rebekah will examine the variations of nutrient uptake efficiency of three species of trees over a topographic gradient in Puerto Rico. Rebekah will have just returned from exploring the geology and biology of New Zealand, having spent a semester at University of Otago in Dunedin. She enjoys running, hiking (her favorite spot being New Hampshire’s White Mountains), biking, and just being outdoors.
 

Conor Sullivan '14 is a Geology-Biology concentrator interested in how geologic processes influence the functioning of ecosystems. Conor is working with fellow undergraduate Rebekah Stein and Professor Stephen Porder (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology) to explore how geologic factors influence landscape-scale variation in nutrient limitation in the Luquillo Mountains of Puerto Rico. Using the results of a nutrient limitation experiment conducted in Fall 2012 by the Porder Lab, Conor will investigate how the availability of key nutrients limits plant growth, and whether this limitation varies on a landscape scale with topography and soil parent material. Conor is from San Jose, California, and is a Brown Outdoor Leadership Training (BOLT) mentor. He enjoys rock climbing and backpacking.

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