Rochelle D.  Seitz

Professor of Marine Science

Email: [[seitz]]
Phone: (804) 684-7698
Interests: Predator/prey dynamics; nursery habitat and food availability for blue crabs.
Office: Andrews Hall 331
Website: {{http://www.vims.edu/research/units/labgroups/community_ecology/index.php, Community Ecology}}
Department: Biological Sciences

Education
  • B.A., Colgate University
  • M.A., Ph.D., College of William and Mary
Research Interests

My research expertise encompasses three primary areas of focus, including (i) effects of environmental stress, such as shoreline development and hypoxia, upon benthic invertebrate diversity, (ii) predator-prey dynamics and top-down versus bottom-up control of benthic systems, and (iii) restoration ecology.  My current research projects continue my emphasis on the three research areas noted above, and include the impacts of habitat degradation on faunal communities, restoration of bivalves in Chesapeake Bay, nursery habitat quality for the blue crab in Chesapeake Bay, benthic predator-prey relationships, and food-web dynamics. Additional interests include experimental and theoretical population and community ecology of marine benthic and epibenthic organisms focused towards a quantitative understanding of processes operating in estuaries and the coastal ocean.    

Current Projects
  • Ecosystem services of restored oyster reefs in lower Chesapeake Bay.  Funded by NOAA CBO – Fisheries Science. October 1, 2014- September 30, 2016. Co-PI (with PI Rom Lipcius).
  • Population Decline and Restoration of Soft-Shell Clams in Chesapeake Bay: Role of Predation, Habitat, Disease, and Environmental Factors. Funded by NOAA-Chesapeake Bay Office. September 2011- September 30, 2014. PI (with co-PI Anson Hines, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center)
  • Ocean Acidification: quantitative effects on predator-prey interactions in various salinities. Funded by National Science Foundation, Women in Science and Engineering (WISE), W&M. Seed Research grant. December 2013-June 2014
  •  Predicting Impacts of Stressors at the Land-Water Interface. Funded by NOAA – CSCOR. January 2010 – December 2015. Co-PI (with PI Tom Jordan, and 18 investigators from seven institutions)
  • Field Experiments on Bay Scallop Restoration in the Lynnhaven River. Funded by Army Corps of Engineers.   April 15, 2008- April 14, 2009.  PI.
  • Benthic Habitat Quality in Shallow-Water Nurseries of Chesapeake Bay. -- Funded by NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office.   November 2005 -November 2008. PI.
  • Alternative Ecosystem-Based Restoration Approaches with Native Oyster Metapopulations in Chesapeake Bay.  Funded by the Army Corps of Engineers.  July 2005- July 2007.  (co-PI with PI R. Lipcius, co-PIs J. Hoenig, S. Schreiber, and H. Wang).
  • Blue Crab Ecology and Fishery Biology. Funded by the Commonwealth of Virginia. (Co-PI with R. Lipcius).
  • Prey Availability and Enhanced Production of Artificial Reefs for Recreational Fish and Native Oysters.  Funded by VMRC, Virginia Recreational Fishery Advisory Board.  March 2007-April 2008. PI
  • Quantitative Valuation of Nursery Habitats for the Blue Crab. Funded by Virginia Sea Grant.  Feb. 2007-Jan. 2009 (Co-PI, with PI R. Lipcius, and co-PIs J. Hoenig, B. Orth, S.Schreiber, and J. van Montfrans).
  • Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) in Coastal Marine Science at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. Amount:  April 2012-April 2017 (Director). Funded by the National Science Foundation.
  • Virginia’s Governor’s School Marine Science Apprenticeship.  Summers Annually. Funded by the Virginia Department of Education.  Director.
Selected Publications
Current Students

Major Advisor

  • M.S.: Melissa Karp – School of Marine Science, The College of William & Mary, Master’s Candidate – Entered fall 2013. Thesis topic: The effect of habitat complexity and location on ecosystem services provided by restored oyster reefs: Implications for oyster reef restoration.

  • M.S.: Bruce Pfirrmann – School of Marine Science, The College of William & Mary, Master’s Candidate – Entered fall 2014. Thesis topic: TBD.

  • PhD: Cassandra Glaspie – School of Marine Science, The College of William & Mary –Entered fall 2010. Dissertation topic: Bivalve predator-prey interactions in the Chesapeake Bay.

Student Committees

  • PhD: Allison Colden - School of Marine Science (Dept. of Fisheries Science), The College of William & Mary – Entered fall 2009. Dissertation topic: Restored Oyster Reef Characteristics Affecting Reef Persistence and Performance in Chesapeake Bay.M.S.:  Justin Falls (VIMS, Entered Fall 2004)
  • M.S.: Megan Wood – School of Marine Science (Dept. of Fisheries Sciences), The College of William & Mary – Entered fall 2010.
  • M.S. David Schulte – School of Marine Science (Dept. of Fisheries Science), The College of William & Mary – Entered fall 2009.
  • M.S.: Richard Balouskus – University of Delaware (Major Advisor Tim Targett) – Entered fall 2008, graduation anticipated December 2012.
  • M.A.: Kristin Erickson (W & M, Biology Department, Graduated Spring 2007). Master's thesis topic: Inactive Sulfide Mounds of the Manus Basin: Invertebrate composition and potential for a chemoautotrophic food web.
Past Students
Major Advisor:
  • Ph.D.: Cassandra Glaspie - School of Marine Science, The College of William & Mary –Entered fall 2010, graduated May 2016. Dissertation topic: Marine benthic predator-prey interactions and global change. Current position: Post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Oregon State University.
  • M.S.: Theresa Davenport – School of Marine Science, The College of William & Mary –Entered fall 2009, graduated December 2012. Thesis topic: Consequences of shoreline development for near-shore benthic communities in Chesapeake Bay, USA: a temporal and trophic approach. Current Position: Doctoral Student at Northeastern University.

  • Ph.D.: Samuel K. (Kersey) Sturdivant(co-advisor with Bob Diaz) – School of Marine Science, The College of William & Mary –Entered fall 2006, graduated May 2011.  Received Hall-Bonner Fellowship and Best student Poster Award at 2009 ASLO meeting. Dissertation topic: The effects of hypoxia on macrobenthic production and function in the lower Rappahannock River, Chesapeake Bay, USA.  Current position: McCurdy Post-Doctoral Scholar, Duke University Marine Lab.
  • Ph.D.: Bryce J. Brylawski – School of Marine Science, The College of William & Mary –Entered fall 2003, graduated December 2008.  Dissertation topic: Cultural eutrophication and the clam Macoma balthica: Evidence for trophic disruption and effects on blue crabs.
    Current position: Assistant Professor, Albright College.
  • Ph.D.: William Christopher Long – School of Marine Science, The College of William & Mary – Entered fall 2002, graduated September 2007. Received EPA GRO Fellowship in 2005. Dissertation topic: Hypoxia and Macoma balthica: Ecological effects on a key benthic infaunal species.
    Current position: Research Ecologist/Research Fishery Biologist NOAA, NMFS.
  • M.S.: Cassie Bradley – School of Marine Science, The College of William & Mary –Entered fall 2008, graduated May 2011. Thesis topic: The Impacts of Shoreline Development on Shallow-water Benthic Communities in the Patuxent River, MD.
    Current Position: Seasonal Research Assistant, Narragansett Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Prudence Island, RI
  • M.S.: Ana Liza Hernandez Cordero – School of Marine Science, The College of William & Mary –Entered fall 2007, graduated May 2010. Thesis topic: Exploring the Potential for Bay Scallop, Argopecten irradians concentricus, Restoration in the Lynnhaven River Sub-estuary of Chesapeake Bay.
    Current Position: Regional Resource Coordinator, NOAA Assessment & Restoration Division, St Petersburg, FL
  • M.S.: Amanda Lawless – School of Marine Science, The College of William & Mary –Entered fall 2005, graduated June 2008. Received Kelly Watson Fellowship 2006 and Hunter B. Andrews, Jr., Fellowship 2007.  Master's thesis topic: Effects of Shoreline Development and Oyster Reef Placement on Benthos, Oysters, and Predators in Lynnhaven Bay, Virginia
    Current Position: Research Assistant, Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, Center for Systematic Biology and Evolution, Philadelphia.

 Undergraduates and Other Interns

  • Julia Carroll, Williams College, REU intern 2014 ("Comparison of Epifaunal Communities on Natural Oyster Shell and Alternative Substrates in the Chesapeake Bay").

  • Nina Jackson, Humbolt State University, REU intern 2013 ("A Before and After Control Impact Survey of a Living Shoreline in Lynnhaven Bay").

  • Jessica Braunstein, Lee University, REU intern 2012 (“Effect of shoreline type on crab and fish species: abundance, size distribution, and juvenile blue crab survival”).
  • Heather Richardson, The College of William & Mary, REU intern 2011 (“Impacts of shoreline development on bivalve communities in Timberneck Creek, VA”). Current position: 
Naturalist, Outdoor Education at Arrowhead Ranch
  • Elizabeth Gomez, Brown University, REU intern 2010 (“Effects of shoreline development and upland usage on multiple trophic levels in Chesapeake Bay”). Current position: 
Consultant, EA Engineering Science & Technology Consultants, Inc.Stacy Aguilera – Stanford University, REU summer intern 2009 (Secondary Production on Subtidal and Intertidal Rip-Rap Shoreline Structures Along the Patuxent and Lynnhaven Rivers”). Current position: 
PhD candidate, University of Miami. 
  • Caitlin Bovery  - College of William & Mary, REU summer intern 2008 (Bay Scallop Restoration in the Lynnhaven River System). Current position: MS Candidate in Environmental Sciences, Florida Atlantic University 

  • Kristin (Mahalak) de Nesnera – Honors thesis advisee and REU summer intern 2007 (“Effectiveness of Gracilaria sp. as structured nursery habitat for juvenile blue crabs in mud coves”). Graduated The College of William & Mary Biology Department with BS, May 2008. Current position: PhD Candidate, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Santa Cruz
  • Miranda Westphal, NSF REU intern (" Diet of the Juvenile Blue Crab, Callinectes sapidus, in Shallow-water Nurseries in Response to Large-scale Variations in Benthic Communities"), and Rachel Clark, VIMS Governor’s School intern ("Optimal habitats in which to release juvenile crabs: Crab and clam comparisons"), Summer 2006
  • Francisco Soto-Santiago, NSF REU Intern, and Ian Keane-Babcock, VIMS Governor's School Intern, Summer 2004, Effects of predation and food availability on blue crab, Callinectes sapidus, enhancement
  • Andrea Barber, NSF REU Intern, Summer 2003, Bivalve populations and carrying capacity of coves enhanced with juvenile blue crabs
  • Mary Cassie Stoddard, VIMS Governor's School Intern, Summer 2003, Assessment of Littoraria irrorata populations subject to varying predation levels
  • Theresa Haynes, NSF REU Intern, and Stephanie Gera, VIMS Governor's School Intern Summer 2002, Effects of shoreline development on the benthic community and its predators
  • Jill Fox, NSF REU intern, Summer 2001, Habitat-specific differences in abundance and condition of Macoma balthica in the York River
  • Katy Dannenberg, VIMS Governor's School Intern, Summer 2001, Effects of burial depth on predation of clams in various habitats
  • Bethany Devoy, NSF REU intern, Summer 2001, The intrusion of hypoxia into the Chesapeake Bay MPAC and its effect on blue crab distribution
  • Cassandra Brooks, NSF REU Intern, Summer 2000, Immigration and emigration of Macoma balthica in sand and mud habitats in the York River
  • Melissa Barger, VIMS Governor's School Intern, Summer 2000, Density-dependent predation and survival of Macoma balthica
  • Julianne Rowehl, NSF REU Intern, Summer 1999
  • Kathleen Van Eron, VIMS Governor's School Student, Summer 1999
  • Melanie Culin, NSF REU Intern, Summer 1998
  • Steven Hudgins, NSF REU Intern, Summer 1994
  • Elenor Eyster, VIMS Governor's School Intern, Summer 1994
Student Committees:
  • PhD: Diane Tulipani. School of Marine Science (Dept. of Fisheries Science), The College of William & Mary, Graduated August 2013. Dissertation topic: Ecological role and conservation of the diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin) in Chesapeake Bay. Current position:  Adjunct instructor, Biology at Rappahannock Community College, Glenns, VA, and Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA

  • PhD: Noelle Relles - School of Marine Science (Dept. of Biological Sciences), The College of William & Mary – Entered fall 2007, graduated May 2012. Dissertation topic: Coral reef cover on the islands of Bonaire and Curacao.  Current position: Adjunct Lecturer at the State University of New York at Cortland and the State University of New York at Onondaga Community College.

  •  PhD: Russell Burke - School of Marine Science (Dept. of Fisheries Science), The College of William & Mary – Entered fall 2003, graduated May 2010. Dissertation topic: Alternative Substrates as a Native Oyster (Crassostrea virginica) Reef Restoration Strategy in Chesapeake Bay.  Current Position: Lecturer, Christopher Newport University.
  • M.S.: Lara (Gates) Kling - School of Marine Science (Dept. of Biological Sciences), The College of William & Mary – Entered fall 2009, graduated May 2012. Thesis topic: Habitat utilization and trophic interactions by fauna in a shallow estuary: Comparisons between clam aquaculture and natural sites.  Current Position: Blue Sky Fund, Director of Academic Programs.
  •  M.S.: Justin Falls – School of Marine Science (Dept. of Fisheries Science), The College of William & Mary – Entered fall 2004, graduated December 2008. Thesis topic: The survival benefit of benthic macroalgae Gracilaria vermiculophylla as an alternative nursery habitat for juvenile blue crabs.  Current Position: Naturalist at the Croydon Creek Nature Center in Rockville, Maryland.
  •  M.S. Kristin Erickson – Biology Department, The College of William & Mary – Entered fall 2005, graduated May 2007. Thesis topic: Inactive Sulfide Mounds of the Manus Basin: Invertebrate composition and potential for a chemoautotrophic food web.
  •  M.S.: Elizabeth Blake – Biology Department, The College of William & Mary – Graduated May 2006.
  •  M.S.: Andrea Maniscalco -- School of Marine Science (Dept. of Environmental, Aquatic and Animal Health), The College of William & Mary – Graduated August 2005. Thesis topic: Comparative pathology of the eyes of decapod hosts infected by microbial agents
  •  M.S.: Jennifer Dryer – Biology Department, College of William & Mary – Graduated May 2004. Thesis topic: Dynamics at hydrothermal vents: evidence for stable macrofaunal communities in mussel beds on the northern East Pacific Rise.
  •  M.S.: Kristen Delano -- School of Marine Science (Dept. of Fisheries Science), College of William & Mary – Graduated December 2003. Thesis topic: Growth and fecundity of the baltic clam Macoma balthica in a source-sink system
  •  M.S.: Kathleen Knick -- Biology Department, College of William & Mary – Graduated May 2003. Thesis topic: Comparison of mussel-bed fauna at the Blake Ridge and Florida Escarpment seeps.

Ph.D.: Cassandra Glaspie - School of Marine Science, The College of William & Mary –Entered fall 2010, graduated May 2016. Dissertation topic: 

 Marine benthic predator-prey interactions and global change. Current position: Post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Oregon State University.

Courses
  • ANTH 602 (11): Biological Anthropology (contributing lecturer)
  • MSCI 698 (08): Effects of multiple stressors on benthic communities (sole instructor)
  • MSCI 698 (06): Human Impacts on Ecosystem Services: Habitat Degradation.
  • MSCI 653: Marine Benthos
  • MSCI 502: Coastal and Estuarine Processes, Issues and Investigations
  • MSCI 501:  Fundamentals of Marine Science (Coordinating Teaching Assistant and Contributing Lecturer)
  • MSCI 526:  Introduction to Biological Oceanography (Teaching Assistant and Contributing Lecturer)
  • MSCI 653:  Marine Benthos (Contributing lecturer)
  • MSCI 664:  Conservation Biology (Contributing lecturer)
  • MSCI 667:  Experimental and Quantitative Ecology (Contributing lecturer) 
  • Oceanography (Department of Biology, University of Richmond, Richmond, VA)
  • Physiology of Marine Organisms (Department of Biology, University of Richmond, Richmond, VA)
  • Invertebrate Zoology (Department of Biology, University of Richmond, Richmond, VA)
  • Organismal Biology (Department of Biology, University of Richmond, Richmond, VA)
Honors and Awards
  • 2009-present: Editorial Board/Review Editor – ICES Journal of Marine Science
  • 2009:  Coastal America Partnership Award, Executive Office of the President, United States Government, for the Lynnhaven Oyster Recovery Team
  • 2009: Advisee S. Kersey Sturdivant received best student poster award at the meeting of the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, Nice, France, February
  • 2001- present:  Research Associate.  Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Edgewater MD.
  • 2003-4: Guest Editor – Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology.
  • 2001:  Research Associate.  Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Edgewater MD
  • 1999:  Smithsonian Postdoctoral Fellowship.  Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Edgewater MD
  • 1999: ICES Young Scientist.  Participant in International Conference on Marine Ecosystem Perspectives.   Gilleleje, Denmark, 20-24 November, 1999
  • 1995: American Predoctoral Fellowship.  American Association of University Women (one year stipend)
  • 1993: Dean's Award for Advancement of Women in Marine Science. The College of William & Mary, School of Marine Science
Professional Memberships
  • Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation, member 1989-1999, and 2004-present
  • American Fisheries Society, member 2012-present
  • Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, member 2011
  • 1998-2003, Member, Ecological Society of America
  • 1989-1999, Member, American Society of Limnology and Oceanography
Collaborative Efforts
  • Denise Breitburg, Anson Hines, and Tom Jordan, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
  • Thomas Miller, Chesapeake Biological Laboratory
  • Linda Schaffner and Mark Luckenbach, College of William & Mary
  • Dan Dauer, Old Dominion University
  • Cindy Lee Van Dover, Duke University