The Lab

Stephen Gosnell, Principal Investigator

A native of South Carolina, Stephen completed his PhD at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and postdoctoral positions at the UCSB Marine Science Institute and the Florida State University Coastal and Marine Laboratory before joining Baruch College as an assistant professor in 2014. His goal as an ecologist is to gather data on how communities are structured and what they provide so we can aid management and restoration efforts. Much of his lab's work currently focuses on understanding coastal systems in and around New York. The lab also asks similar question in other parts of the world through analysis of existing data sets and collaborations.

Stephen's research interests and approach also drive his work as a teacher. He leads upper division courses on conservation biology and biostatistics, and enjoys introducing students to ecology through non-majors and first-year courses. His courses typically use open educational resources in lieu of traditional textbooks in order to increase student access and bring current material into the classroom. You can view material he has developed or aggregated for his courses under the teaching tab.

Google Scholar profile

Curriculum vitae

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Current Members

Jennifer Zhu

Jennifer is currently a Biology PhD student at The Graduate Center CUNY and Baruch College. Her research includes various oyster restoration projects and understanding the mutualistic relationship between ribbed mussels (Geukensia demissa) and cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) in the restored marshes of Jamaica Bay, NY. She graduated from Cornell University in 2016, studying the genetic diversity of the eastern oysters (Crassostrea virginica) in the New York Harbor before joining the lab.

Andrew Shen-Costello

Andrew is currently a rising senior at Hunter College High School, graduating in 2022. His primary interests are environmental science, ecology, and computer science. He has previously interned at the Troyanskaya lab at the Flatiron Institute (summer of 2020), using machine learning to predict functional information from an RNA-seq dataset. He has also independently conducted several smaller computational research projects.

Gabriela Aguilar Castillo

Gabriela Aguilar Castillo is a second-year student at Baruch College. She is majoring in Marketing management with a minor in Environmental Sustainability. A fun fact is that she has always been interested in finding ways to help coral reefs survive climate change by reducing my own carbon footprint.

Noa Heller

Noa Heller is a senior at Baruch College, majoring in biological sciences with a minor in environmental sustainability. Originally from Israel, she grew up in the suburbs of NYC where her family prioritized maintaining a connection to nature. Throughout her childhood, Noa had a common goal of one day working with animals. In high school, she became interested in wildlife medicine and became a certified wildlife rehabilitator. Noa returned to Israel after graduating to serve in the IDF in the international relations unit. Stationed on the Syrian border, she saw the effects of climate change on conflict firsthand. When she returned to the US, she began her studies at Baruch where she found interest in conservation biology and animal behavior, which combined her passion for animals and wider interest in human and environmental interconnectivity. In her free time, Noa has become a quarantine gardener and cat parent. She plans on continuing her studies in animal behavior in order to apply it to the wider field of conservation biology.

Daniel Kitaygorodskiy

Daniel Kitaygorodskiy is a junior at Baruch College majoring in Psychology. He is the Secretary of the Psychology Club at Baruch and intends to pursue Dental School after completing his undergraduate education but has also always held a passion for ecology. His love for the natural sciences and desire to study the planet is what brought him to help Stephen with his research. He is a staunch climate and civil rights activist and plans to incorporate his passion for social work into his career as a dentist by making dental care more accessible for the public. In his free time, Daniel is an avid photographer, loves to sing, and plays guitar. He also practices and studies metallurgy as well as various digital art mediums.

Arin Kukharsky

Arin is a senior at Baruch College, majoring in biological sciences with a minor in philosophy. Originally on the finance track, his passion for science was rekindled halfway through his undergraduate journey and he has since joined the Gosnell Lab. His primary interests lie in microbiology and the interactions between macro and microorganisms. He hopes that his time with the lab will help him solidify his career goals before he moves on to complete his PhD.

Lauryn Tham

Lauryn is a Sophomore majoring in Biology at Los Angeles Harbor College. Her previous research experience includes the Global Environmental Microbiology (GEM) Summer Course where she focused on the aquatic microbiology surrounding the Wrigley Marine Science Center on Santa Catalina Island. Lauryn is determined to utilize the world-class mentorship and hands-on research experience provided by the BUEE program to promote positive change in her future scientific endeavors.

Caroline Troy

Caroline Troy is a currently an undergraduate student at Brown University, and will graduate in 2022. Her major is environmental science, with a focus on conservation science and policy. She has previously interned at Johns Hopkins University studying suburban stream chemistry, Morgan State University’s Patuxent Aquatic and Environmental Laboratory studying oyster restoration and forage fish habitat, and works for Brown’s herbarium. Next summer, she will participate in the Brooklyn Urban Ecology and Environment Program (BUEE) REU program.

Chelsea Wepy

Chelsea is an undergraduate student at Baruch College studying Entrepreneurial Management, Environmental Sustainability, and Spanish-English Translation. Her work in the lab is centered on the role of GIS systems in data visualization for designing habit preservation zones, specifically for Florida panthers. She will also be conducting research that examines environmental threats and solutions within Latin America in conjunction with the ALAC scholarship for environmental sustainability.

Amani Zubi

Amane is a rising senior at Baruch College. Her major is Marketing and her minor is Natural Science. Her primary interests are environmental science, genetics and microbiology. In the future she plans to combine her interests in science and business while continuing her studies and completing a PhD program.

Lab Alumni

Laila Akallal

Laila graduated from Baruch College in 2020 with a major in biology and a minor in physics and psychology. Previous lab experience includes studying the comparison of field dependence on entropy change in first order and second order materials at Brooklyn College. Her research in the lab included connecting GIS to conservation efforts and research pertaining to different factors that impact the health and sustainability of communities. Following her time in the lab she continued on to a degree in public health at Dartmouth.

Basya Buchbinder

Basya worked in the lab on several projects considering the impacts of fear on prey species and communities.

Arpita Banik

Arpita volunteered in the lab while an undergraduate at Hamilton College majoring in Biology. Her research interests include invasive species, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases. In the future, she plans to combine her interests in health, business, and technology while attending medical school.

Jennifer Chiu

During her time in the lab from 2009-2011, Jen assisted with projects focusing on the non-consumptive effects of predators on prey in the intertidal zone and completed a senior research project investigating the burgeoning and unregulated Kellet’s Whelk fishery along the California coast. After graduation from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2011, Jennifer accepted a Fisheries Ecology Internship at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab in Alabama, where she participated in numerous projects in the northern Gulf of Mexico (including Tiger Shark gut content research, Bonnethead Shark functional response, Cownose Ray foraging ecology and Red Snapper tagging) and worked as a Biological Science Technician at the USGS, where she studied the distribution and biomass of benthic invertebrates in San Francisco Bay. She joined the Master’s program in the Fisheries & Conservation Biology Lab at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories in the fall of 2012 and completed a thesis project investigating the relationship between diet and stable isotope ratios in Yellowtail Rockfish, Sebastes flavidus. She also served as the Volunteer Coordinator for the CA Collaborative Fisheries Research Program (CCFRP), which establishes protocols to gather information for fisheries management about central California marine protected areas from fishermen and scientists.

Faith Crawford

As an undergraduate student Faith spent her days studying biology in the laboratories at Baruch College. As a senior she began to pursue her interests in environmental biology, taking several courses to expand her knowledge on the subject. Her work in the lab focused on assisting with the distribution and analysis of a survey focused on quantifying reintroduction progress and how human engagement factors impact long-term outcomes

Wajdi Fakhoury

Wajdi worked in the lab from 2010-2014. He helped with a variety of projects ranging from whelk dissections to field collections before settling on a senior project studying population-level differences in responses to temperature change among whelks. His work resulted in a Marine Biology paper. Wajdi pursued a career in counseling and therapy after his time in the lab.

Adam Fallis

Adam interned in the lab while an undergraduate student double majoring in biology and economics at Vanderbilt University. He is deeply interested in stem cell, cancer, and ecological research and wants to merge his business and medical passions to uplift communities, improve patient outcomes, and reform the public health sector. He has worked with governmental and private entities in deeply rewarding projects. He participated in several research initiatives during his summer in the lab to continue his track of academic interest and growth.

Christina Francis

Christina worked in the lab as part of the Brooklyn Urban Ecology and Environment Program (BUEE) REU program. Her summer work focused on impacts of oysters on denitrification. She completed her undergraduate degree at John Hopkins University.

Emily Goetz

Originally from Harrisburg, PA, Emily studied conservation biology at Middlebury College. Emily began work in the Gosnell lab in the summer of 2014 at the FSU Coastal and Marine Laboratory, assisting with studies of oyster reef restoration techniques and predator effects on oyster growth. She continued working in the lab on various projects as an adjunct at Baruch College , partially in partnership with the New York Harbor School. Projects included looking at the impacts of environmental variation throughout oyster life stages and a meta-analysis of predator training in captive rearing programs. Emily continued her marine research after Baruch by beginning a master's program at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.

Rachel Kenny

Rachel graduated from George Washington University in 2013. After graduation she worked on a coral reef ecology study at American University, using benthic foraminifera as indicator species in an ongoing effort to monitor the long-term health of Guam's coral reef ecosystems. She joined the lab in 2016 to assist with ongoing projects, focusing on a meta-analysis evaluating the effectiveness of predator training programs. She joined the Masters program in Environmental Science at the Bren School, University of California-Santa Barbara in fall 2017.

Peyton Kessler

Peyton interned in the lab as part of the 2021 College Now Program at Baruch College. He enjoys reading books and playing sports, especially baseball.

Valerie Kim

Valerie worked in the lab as part of the Brooklyn Urban Ecology and Environment Program (BUEE) REU program. Her summer work focused on how size impacts the predator-prey relationship between oysters and oyster drills. She is currently completing her undergraduate at Rutgers University.

Erica Levine

While she was completing her Professional Science Master’s degree in marine biology through Northeastern University’s Three Seas Program, Erica interned with the lab. She completed several projects exploring non-consumptive effects in oyster reefs and effects of substrate on habitat restoration efforts before continuing her work with the Florida Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Christian Liriano

Christian interned in the lab while a student at Hostos CC. His research interests are, the habitat ecology/taxonomy of understudied organisms from northeastern North America(e.g, spiders, bryophytes), comparative community and ecosystem ecology of rural/urban systems and general research on the community/ecosystem ecology of aquatic/terrestrial ecosystems.

Glenn Liu

Glenn graduated from CUNY Hunter College majoring in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Earth Science. His work in the lab focused on developing and parameterizing Dynamic Energy Budget (DEB) models for the Atlantic Oyster Crassostrea virginicaand the Ribbed Mussel Geukensia demissa based on the DEBtool routines written by S. A. L. M. Kooijman. This modeling of energy flows based on the DEB theory will be evaluated in conjunction with inputs of environmental data to map the long-term suitability of different areas within the Hudson Estuary for oyster reef restoration, providing a quantitative means of site assessment for ongoing and future efforts with the Billion Oyster Project and the New York Harbor School. After graduation he continued on to the Woods Hole-MIT Joint Program to pursue a degree in Physical Oceanography.

Jennifer Symonds

Jenny worked in the lab as part of the Brooklyn Urban Ecology and Environment Program (BUEE) REU program. Her summer work focused on impacts of predator biomass on non-consumptive effects. She is completed her undergraduate at UC-Berkeley.

Konrad Szenfeld

Konrad interned in the lab as an undergraduate at Baruch College where he majored in Biology and a minored in Physics and Environmental science. His work in the lab focused on studying the effects of predator presence on feeding in oysters over long term exposure as part of the ALAC scholarship for environmental sustainability. In the future he plans on attending dental school.

Minkyung Sarah Lee

Sarah majored in Environmental Pharmacology as part of the CUNY Baccalaureate for Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies. Her work in the lab focused on public support for reintroductions as well as developing educational modules for conservation biology lessons. She continued on to graduate work focused on cancer epigenetics and treatments at Dartmouth University.

Kali Spurgin

As an undergraduate at Florida State University, Kali played an instrumental role in getting several new lines of research focusing on oysters reef started. For her certificate in marine science, Kali worked on projects exploring how predator effects might play a role in regulating growth of cultured oysters. Following graduation she began work as camp director for a marine ecology summer camp in Florida.

Matias Tong

Matias studied biology at the City College of New York and aided oyster research efforts in the lab. He also completed an independent project focused on comparing various methods used to estimate trait data that is needed for fisheries models but that is often missing. After graduation he worked with the Nature Conservancy.

Lara Voelker

Lara worked with the lab as part of UCSB's INSET program in the summer of 2011. Her summer project focused on size-specific predator-prey interactions and optimal foraging of intertidal whelks.