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

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 restored marshes of Jamaica Bay. 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.

Glenn Liu

Glenn is currently an undergraduate at CUNY Hunter College majoring in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Earth Science. He is currently working as a research assistant in the lab, and is 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. He hopes to pursue graduate studies relating to the oceanographic or atmospheric sciences, and is interested in the dynamics and interactions of these physical systems with the living biota.

Minkyung Sarah Lee

Sarah is currently an undergraduate student at Baruch College. She is majoring in Environmental Pharmacology as part of the CUNY Baccalaureate for Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies. Her interests include research in how drugs interact with the environment. She currently is a research assistant in the lab, focusing on research in public support for reintroductions as well as developing modules for conservation biology lessons.

Matias Tong

Matias is an undergraduate studying biology at the City College of New York and is aiming to become a marine ecologist. His past research involved sampling grass shrimp from a NYC lake and doing heavy metals analysis. He is an intern in the lab and is part of a team effort to improve the Atlantis model and the long-term success of oyster reintroduction in New York City harbor.

Basya Buchbinder

Basya is pursuing an undergraduate degree with a natural science major and a minor in chemistry. In the future, she hopes to conduct research related to environmental pollution and toxicology.

Jennifer Symonds, Seattle University, BS Environmental Science

Jenny is a freshman at Seattle University where she studies Environmental Science. She works as an intern for her school’s Center for Environmental Justice and Sustainability and is on the leadership team for the food justice and urban farming club. Growing up in the Bay Area, California she participated in political activism and science education and has continued this work in Seattle. She is most interested in environmental planning and sustainable design to help create more resilient cities.

Christina Francis

Christina is an Earth and Environmental Science major at Unity College in Unity, Maine. Her career objective is to become a politically conscious environmental researcher. This career path stems from the belief that federal law exists as an ethical guide for the public to provide a foundation for the public's moral compass. Because of this, law and policy are inevitable in the conversation of sustainability. Eager to expose herself to the field of environmental research, Christina spent her freshman year of college as a geoscience field and lab technician, working on two research projects: a hydrology project to investigate how much water moves through the campus system via runoff, natural drainage, and evaporation, and another project studying environmental change through the analysis of lake sediment cores. Following that experience, she worked in the natural science lab of Baruch as an undergraduate intern for the summer of 2018 doing research on how predator presence impacts eastern oyster ecosystem services. Genuine fascination felt during these in-lab experiences have only reassured her that her passions lie in environmental research.

Valerie Kim

Valerie Kim is a junior at Rutgers University where she is pursuing a major in Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources. During her sophomore year she has worked in the Floriculture Greenhouse on campus, where she was a co-exhibitor on a first place winning bulb at the Philadelphia Flower Show. Val loves to be active and enjoys being outdoors, playing field hockey, and exploring. She hopes to use the experiences and research that she conducts in the Gosnell Lab to further her passion for aquatic ecology and conservation. After graduating from Rutgers she wants to obtain her PhD, travel the world studying aquatic systems, and further the future of oceanic conservation. Subsequently, she wants to give back to her community and become a professor where she will be able to teach new passionate ecologically thinking minds.

Konrad Szenfeld

Konrad is an undergraduate at Baruch College currently studying a major in Biology and a minor in Physics and Environmental science. In the coming semesters he plans 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.

Former Lab Members

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. Previously, she spent two years working at National Geographic where she discovered her passion for conservation. Her research interests include wildlife conservation, biodiversity preservation, and conservation psychology. 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.

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

Emily Goetz

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. Originally from Harrisburg, PA, Emily studied conservation biology at Middlebury College and is currently working as part of a biological research team in Alaska and the American West.

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. She currently works with the Florida Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

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.

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 is currently a graduate student at Golden Gate University interested in the interplay between family therapy and special education. His career objective is to open an autism center where he can provide eclectic, evidence based therapeutic methodologies and educational interventions to children with autism and other pervasive developmental disorders.

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 is currently working on her thesis project investigating the relationship between diet and stable isotope ratios in Yellowtail Rockfish, Sebastes flavidus. She is looking at gut contents and stable isotope signatures in multiple tissue types within Yellowtail Rockfish to see if they vary spatially over time. She also serves 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.

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. She is currently completing a degree in Chemical Biology at UC Berkeley. She also minored in math and science education, has interned with educational programs at the Lawrence Berkeley Lab, and plans to pursue a career as a high school teacher for chemistry and biology.