Astrid Leitner recently completed her PhD in biological oceanography and previously graduated from the University of California Santa Cruz with a BS in Earth and Planetary Sciences with an Ocean Sciences Concentration and a BS in Marine Biology. In her undergraduate studies she worked on coastal ecology in the kelp forests and the rocky intertidal at her home institution as well as deep sea biology through a submarine canyon project at Hatfield Marine Science Center. At UH manoa she worked on the ABYSSLINE project, developing an ecological baseline for the abyssal ecosystem in the Clarion-Clipperton fracture zone in light of recent mining claims. She is continuing her work on abrupt topographies especially seamount ecosystems.
Past Lab Members
Dr. Jeffrey Drazen
Jeff is a professor in the department of Oceanography at University of Hawaii, Manoa. He earned his PhD from Scripps Institution of Oceanography (under Dr. Ken Smith) and he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (under Drs. Jim Barry and Bruce Robison). His research interests are the trophic ecology and energetics of fishes in open ocean and deep sea ecosystems. Recently his research has evaluated the use of spatial management strategies for deep water bottomfishes, examined mesoscale variability in micronektonic communities, explored the structure of deep sea and pelagic food webs using stable isotopes and other biomarker techniques, evaluated abyssal fish and scavenger populations in areas that will be mined for metal resources, and examined the structure and function of trench communities including the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument. Much of his research has been in collaboration with NMFS scientists and he is a senior fellow of the Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research.
Jessie Perelman is working towards a PhD in biological oceanography. She graduated from the University of Southern California in 2016 with a B.S. in biological sciences, and spent a year in Brisbane, Australia where she studied the feeding dynamics of Indo-Pacific wahoo. After graduation, she worked at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution focusing on acoustic behaviors in marine invertebrates and coral reef soundscape ecology. In the oceanography program at UH, Jessie is studying midwater ecology and focusing on the potential impacts of deep-sea polymetallic nodule mining on deep pelagic ecosystems.
Andrew is an undergraduate in the Global Environmental Science program. Since his childhood years, Andrew had a constant passion for the ocean and its inhabitants, which drove him to take part in a variety of outreach programs pertaining to the sea, and two international exchange programs involving Japanese longline fishing vessels during his junior and senior year in high school. His research in the lab involves an isotopic analysis of hadal food webs. By exploring one of the most mysterious habitats on the planet, he hopes to foster his research interests in deep-sea fisheries and their role in today's internationally complex modern society.
DEEP-SEA FISH ECOLOGY LAB
Sonia Romero's research centers on the use of stable isotope analysis to elucidate the trophic ecology of deep-sea food webs from zooplankton to top predators. She earned her PhD in 2017 from the University of Oviedo (Spain) where she investigated trophic ecology in the Avilés Submarine Canyon ecosystem as well as the pathways of particulate organic matter within the food web. At UH Manoa, Sonia is examining the importance of suspended particles in food resources across pelagic food webs of contrasting ecosystems using amino acid compound-specific nitrogen isotope measurements.
Jesse Black is a PhD student in biological oceanography. He graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2016 with a B.S. in biology. As an undergraduate research assistant, Jesse studied the microbial ecology of hot springs in Yellowstone National Park. After graduating, he worked as a research technician at the University of Chicago for a year studying photosynthetic microbes and their viruses in the Great Lakes. Jesse's research at UH is focused on determining the relative influence of environmental drivers on the growth of deep-sea fish.
Liz Miller is a PhD student in biological oceanography. Originally from Seattle, she graduated from Bard College where she studied grassland plant ecology and soil microbiology. At UH, Liz uses stable isotope chemistry to study food webs in the deep sea off of Hawai'i and California. She is interested in how microbes influence food supply and trophic interactions in the abyssal realm.
Chris Demarke (2007-2015), John Yeh (2011-2015), Matthew Waterhouse (2011-2013), Elan Portner (2011-2013), Bo Alexander (2007- 2010)
Yuuki Niimi (2018), Jen Wong-Ala (2017), Jana Phipps (2017), Erica Donlon (2016), Whitney Ko (2014), William Truong (2014), Aharon Fleury (2013), Erica Aus (2012), Jessica Sun (2011), Bryant Dugan (2011), Molly-Jean Martin (2006)
Sonia Romero (2016; PhD student, University of Oviedo, Spain), Kazia Mermel (2014-2015, undergraduate, Carleton College), Suzi Wilson (2010-2011, undergraduate, U. of Glasgow), Krystle Turkington (2007, undergraduate, Hawaii Pacific University), Katrina Loewy (2006, undergraduate, Colorado College)
Tyler is an undergraduate in the marine biology program. He spent two years assisting in a project which involved cataloging juvenile fishes from NOAA trawls. Now he has started his own project aimed at understanding the systematics of mesopelagic lanternfishesops of Africa, basically.
Gina Selig is a PhD student in biological oceanography. She graduated from the University of Hawaii at Hilo in 2020 with a B.S. in Marine Science and a minor in chemistry. As an undergraduate, Gina was a class of 2018 NOAA Educational Partnership Program Undergraduate Scholar where she interned with the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research as well as the NOAA Office of Coast Survey. Gina’s areas of interest include deep-sea mining, hadal ecosystem studies, and food-web ecology.