- Ph.D. Marine Science, College of William & Mary, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Expected date of completion: August 2011
- B.S. Interdisciplinary Study, Cornell University, 2007
My primary research interests are in coral reef ecology and conservation. I am particularly interested in the effective establishment of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) with the specific goal of coral reef conservation.
Current ResearchMy current project is part of a large-scale remapping of the island of Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles. In January of 2008, NOAA's Office of Ocean Exploration funded a research trip to explore coral reef sustainability on Bonaire's pristine reefs using new technologies (Bonaire 2008), namely autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs). The Autonomous Systems Lab (ASL) at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), houses Fetch, the world's first commercially available underwater robot, which is equipped with GPS navigation, underwater video, 600 kHz side scan sonar, fast response dissolved oxygen sensor, CTD and altimeter. My role in this project was to collect shore perpendicular underwater video transects of Bonaire's reef, which I am analyzing for percent coral cover and species diversity and statistically comparing to a reef atlas of Bonaire completed in the 1980s (van Duyl, 1985). The second part of my dissertation involves a relatively new method of benthic habitat mapping, which involves spectral classification of a satellite image to determine coral cover over a relatively large area. I will be employing this method to map the leeward coasts of both Bonaire and Curacao, Netherlands Antilles, to compare change in coral cover over time in a long-term established marine protected area (MPA) and a less strictly protected area.
2007-present: Graduate Fellow at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science in the Autonomous Systems Lab; studying coral reef ecology and conservation.
2007: Project SeaCAMEL (Classroom Aquarius Marine Education Live) funded by the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation; surfnaut surface support for aquanauts at the Aquarius underwater habitat in Key Largo, FL.
2005-2006: Laboratory Technician in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior at Cornell University for Dr. Tom Eisner's lab of chemical ecolog; taking on general lab maintenance duties and conducting an independent experimental study of mating behavior in the cabbage butterfly, Pieris rapae.
August 2010-December 2010: Adjunct Faculty at the College of William and Mary teaching Coral Reef Ecosystems: Science and Policy; Williamsburg, VA.
September 2009-present: Scientist in Residence at Chesapeake Bay Governor's School in Marine & Environmental Science; Glenns Campus.
March 2007-June 2007: substitute teacher at Onondaga Junior-Senior High School; Nedrow, NY.
February2007-June 2007: substitute teacher at Tully Elementary School ; Tully, NY.
February 2007-June 2007: tutor for Homer Central School district; Homer, NY.
2009 & 2010: National Science Foundation GK12 PERFECT Fellowship
2007 & 2008: Reves Grant for International Studies; Wendy and Emery Reves Center, College of William & Mary.
2008: Student Research Grant; Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William & Mary.
2007: Minority Graduate Fellowship; Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William & Mary.
2003: National Merit Scholarship; Awarded by Schindler Elevator Corporation.
Organizations & Affiliations
- 2008-present: American Society for Limnology and Oceanography
- 2008-present: International Society for Reef Studies
- 2007-present: American Geophysical Union
Relles, N.J. & M.R. Patterson. In review. 2011. Coral cover and diversity on the leeward shore of Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles: changes since the early 1980s and current trends. Marine Biology.
Petrone, C.J. and N.J. Relles. Biodiversity in Marine Protected Areas: Coral Snapshots. Classroom-ready Data Analysis Teaching Activity (DATA).
Relles, N.J. & M.R. Patterson. In press. 2011. AUVS (ROVS). Encyclopedia of Modern Coral Reefs. Ed. David Hopley. Springer-Verlag 2011.
Patterson, M.R. and N.J. Relles. 2008. Autonomous Underwater Vehicles resurvey Bonaire: a new tool for coral reef management. Proceedings of the 11thInternational Coral Reef Symposium.
Relles, N.J. and D.O.B. Jones. 2011. Coral cover and change detection to identify potential areas of management concern on Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles. American Society of Limnology and Oceanography Aquatic Sciences Meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Relles, N.J. and M.R. Dudley. 2010. A cost-benefit analysis of establishing an additional marine reserve in the Bonaire National Marine Park. Ocean Sciences Meeting of the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography in Portland, OR.
Relles, N.J. and M.R. Patterson. 2009. Effective protection of a changing coral reef environment. Presented at the 15th Annual Aquatic Sciences meeting of the American Society for Limnology and Oceanography in Nice, France.
Relles, N.J. and M.R. Patterson. 2009. AUVs Explore Reef Sustainability. Presented at the 11th International Coral Reef Symposium in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
Petrone, C.J., K.L. Brodie, A.C. Foxgrover, D.O.B. Jones, L.M. Kraatz, S.J. Lake, N.J. Relles, C. Rodriguez-Calderon, T. Shen, C.R. Spier, S.K. Sturdivant, M.R. Patterson. 2008. Lessons from Project SeaCAMEL: Integrating Science Education and Ocean Observing System (OOS) Technology. Presented at the 14th Ocean Sciences Meeting at the American Society of Limnology and Oceangraphy
05/2010: VIMS Marine Science Day volunteer.
05/2009: VIMS Marine Science Day volunteer.
06-07/2008: Mentor for Virginia Governor's School Program student.
05/2008: VIMS Marine Science Day volunteer.
P.O. Box 1346, Gloucester Pt., VA 23062-1346, USA