People

Marjorie Friedrichs is a Research Professor at VIMS. She received a B.A. in Physics from Middlebury College in 1989, a M.S. in Oceanography from the MIT/WHOI Joint Program in 1992 and a Ph.D. in Oceanography from Old Dominion University (ODU) in 1999. After a two-year post-doctoral position at ODU, she became a faculty member in the Department of Ocean, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences for 5 years before moving to the Department of Biological Sciences at VIMS. Here at VIMS, she leads the BioCOM lab, which focuses on using mathematical models to study how physical processes affect biological and chemical properties in coastal and estuarine systems. Recent work has focused on examining the anthropogenic impacts of nutrient inputs and climate change to coastal and estuarine systems. She has experience leading a wide variety of model intercomparison projects, and currently serves on the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee for the Chesapeake Bay Program, the Chesapeake Community Modeling Program Steering Committee and the North American Carbon Program Scientific Steering Group of the US Global Change Research Program.
Pierre St-Laurent (Research Scientist) completed a Ph.D. in Oceanography at the Université du Québec in 2010 under the supervision of Fiammetta Straneo. His dissertation focused on sea ice-ocean interactions, physical dispersion of riverine freshwater, and the physical controls on the freshwater balance of sub-Arctic seas. He joined the Antarctic numerical modeling group at Old Dominion University in 2010 to work on an NSF project investigating oceanographic processes that influence the melt of ice shelves in west Antarctica. In 2015 he joined the BioCOM lab to study the impacts of Atmospheric Nitrogen Deposition (AND) on the biogeochemistry of oligotrophic coastal waters. His work involves simulating AND events observed during an oceanographic cruise, and simulating AND events at the regional scale using 3-D atmospheric-oceanic biogeochemical models.
Catherine Czajka Catherine Czajka (M.S. Student) graduated from the University of Delaware in 2021 with a B.S. in Marine Science. While there, she completed a senior thesis on the aerobic scope of juvenile smooth dogfish sharks under the supervision of Drs. Jonathan Cohen and Aaron Carlisle. She also participated in a semester abroad with Sea Education Association which involved sailing through Polynesia and learning about the social implications of climate change, and completed an internship with Delaware Sea Grant, expanding her interest in science communication and public outreach. At VIMS, she is working on an interdisciplinary M.S. project co-advised by Drs. Marjy Friedrichs and Emily Rivest. This work will use numerical models to predict the effects of ocean acidification on oyster growth rates and determine the impacts on aquaculture in the Chesapeake Bay.
Fei Da (Ph.D. Student) graduated from Nanjing University in China with a bachelor degree in Oceanographic Science in 2015. While in college, Fei engaged in projects supervised by Professor Shu Gao and Yong Yin. He also lead an Undergraduate Innovation Program focusing on sea-level changes in the Beibu Gulf of China using methods from chemical oceanography and marine biology. In the summer of 2014, Fei took the course Introduction to Ocean Numerical Modelling given by Prof. Shen from Dalhousie University. Fei's interest lies at the intersection of physical oceanography, biological oceanography and modeling; at VIMS he will studying biogeochemical modeling. This is the link to Fei's undergraduate work: http://bdrc.nju.edu.cn/dafei/homepage/index.html 
Colin_headshot Colin Hawes (M.S. Student) graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University in 2020 with a B.S. in Physics and a minor in Environmental Science. While at Ohio Wesleyan, Colin volunteered with Dr. Amy Downing to study zooplankton mesocosms under varying salt concentrations. The purpose of this research was to examine the effect of road salt runoff on freshwater ecosystems. In the summer of 2019, he received an NSF funded REU internship. With Dr. Haring-Kaye, Colin studied lifetimes of the radioisotope Arsenic-74. This research was conducted between Ohio Wesleyan and Florida State University. He presented this research in a poster session at the 2019 fall meeting of the Division of Nuclear Physics of the American Physical Society in Crystal City, Virginia. He continued to study Arsenic-74 for his senior research, confirming multiple new energy states and transitions in the Arsenic-74 level scheme. During Colin's senior year, he also developed an interest, under the guidance of Dr. Sean Kay, in science communication and environmental policy.
Kyle Hinson (Ph.D. Student) graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2014 with a B.S. in Environmental Sciences and a minor in Physics. While there he worked in Dr. Tamlin Pavelsky’s Global Hydrology lab to help identify river characteristics using satellite images. After leaving UNC he worked at the USEPA Chesapeake Bay Program Office as a Modeling Staffer with the Chesapeake Research Consortium, helping to develop and incorporate inputs and methodologies related to river diversions, atmospheric data, and climate change in the Bay Program’s watershed and estuarine models. At VIMS, he is continuing work related to climate change impacts on the Chesapeake Bay in partnership with researchers at Penn State University, Auburn University, Old Dominion University, and the Chesapeake Bay Program.

Alumni of the BioCOM lab: 

  • Mr. Luke Frankel (M.S., graduated 2021)
    • Project Scientist II at FB Environmental - Dover, NH
  • Dr. Jessica Turner (Ph.D., graduated 2021)
    • Postdoctoral Research Associate in Marine Science at the Universtiy of Connecticut Avery Point - Groton, CT
  • Dr. Kelsey Fall (M.S., 2012; Ph.D., graduated 2020)
    • Engineer at U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory - Vicksburg, MS
  • Dr. Danny Kaufman (Ph.D., 2017; post-doc, 2017)
    • Postdoctoral Research Associate in Atmospheric Sciences and Global Change at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory - College Park, MD
  • Dr. Julia Moriarty (Ph.D., graduated 2017)
    • Assistant Professor of Atmospheric and Ocean Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder - Boulder, CO 
  • Dr. Ike Irby (Ph.D., graduated 2017)
    • Policy Advisor to Vice President Kamala Harris - Washington, D.C.
  • Dr. Yongjin Xiao (Ph.D., graduated 2014)
    • Data Scientist at British Petroleum - Houston, TX
  • Dr. Yang Feng (post-doc, 2011-2015)
    • Currently at the South China Sea Institute of Oceanology - Guangzhou, China
  • Dr. Aaron Bever (post-doc, 2010-2011)
    • Managing Scientist at Anchor QEA - San Francisco, CA
  • Dr. Jianhong Xue (post-doc, 2008-2011)
    • Research Associate at the Marine Science Institute of the University of Texas at Austin - Port Aransas, TX
  • Dr. Vincent Saba (post-doc, 2007-2010)
    • Research Fishery Biologist at the Ecosystem Dynamics and Assessment Branch of NOAA's Northeast Fisheries Science Center and the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory - Princeton, NJ