Samantha  Bickel

GK-12/ PERFECT Fellow York High School

Email: [[sbickel]]
Phone: (804) 684-7416
Office: Chesapeake Bay Hall, S113
Department of Interest: Biological Sciences


Ph.D. College of William & Mary, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Gloucester Point,VA

M.S. in Marine Science, College of William & Mary, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Gloucester Point,VA

B.A. in Biology & Mathematics, Carthage College, Kenosha, WI


Dr. Kam Tang

Research Interests

Areas of Interest:  Zooplankton Ecology, Microbial Ecology

Zooplankton-Bacteria Interactions

I am interested in the interactions between zooplankton and bacteria, in particular how bacteria are able to utilize zooplankton as microhabitats.  In the past, interactions between bacteria and zooplankton were considered to be weak or indirect, but bacteria are actually able to densely colonize both external and internal zooplankton surfaces.   My disseration work focuses on determining whether environmental parameters and charactistics unique to particular zooplankton can influence the number and types of bacteria associated with zooplankton.  I'm also interested in determining whether zooplankton guts can provide the right physical and chemical environment to support anaerobic bacteria and their associated processes.  

Zooplankton Carcasses

I am interested in potential anthropogenic causes of non-predatory mortality among zooplankton (such as boat-generated turbulence), which can result in the accumulation of carcasses within the water column.  Additionally,  it is of interest to know how the biochemical (protein and lipid) content of these carcasses changes over time due to microbial activity, and how the presence of carcasses influence bacteria abundance and enxyme activity.   

Research Experience

Ph.D. Dissertation Research, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Gloucester Point, VA

  • Abundance, structure and function of zooplankton-associated Bacterial Communities in the York River, VA
  • Major Advisor:  Dr. Kam Tang

M.S. Thesis Research, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Gloucester Point, VA               

  • Anthropogenic causes of copepod mortality and bacterial decomposition of copepod carcasses
  • Major Advisor: Dr. Kam Tang

Organic Chemist, TestAmerica Analytical, Watertown, WI                                                      

  • Environmental monitoring of water and soil samples for contamination by diesel fuels, grease and PAHs

Aquatic Ecology Summer Fellow, NOAA GLERL,  Ann Arbor, MI                                     

  • Monitored occurrence of the invasive cladoceran, Bythotrephes in Lake Erie
  • Supervisor:  Dr. Hank Vanderploeg

NSF REU, Great Lakes WATER Institute, Milwaukee, WI                                                     

  • Daphnia behavioral responses to fluid disturbances
  • Advisor:  Professor J. Rudi Strickler

Summer Undergraduate Research Experience, Carthage College, Kenosha, WI                

  • Impact of an obsolete landfill on nearby stream benthic macroinvertebrate communities
  • Advisor: Dr. Scott Hegrenes

Bickel SL, Hammond JDM, Tang KW (in press) Boat-generated turbulence as a potential source of mortality among copepods. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology.

Bickel SL, Tang KW (2010) Microbial decomposition of proteins and lipids in copepod versus rotifer carcasses.  Marine Biology 157: 1613-1624.

Bickel SL, Tang KW, Grossart, HP (2009) Use of aniline blue to distinguish live and dead crustacean zooplankton composition in freshwaters. Freshwater Biology 54: 971-981.

Tang KW, Bickel SL, Dziallas C, Grossart HP (2009) Microbial activities accompanying decomposition of cladoceran and copepod carcasses under different environmental conditions. Aquatic Microbial Ecology 57: 89-100.


2010 Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (Berlin, Germany) Ph.D. Fellowship

2010 Virginia Institute of Marine Science Student Research Grant               

2009 American Society of Limnology & Oceanography Student Travel Grant

2007, 2008 College of William & Mary Reves Graduate Student International Travel Grants

2006 - 2008 Virginia Institute of Marine Science Fellowship