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Meet some of our students and faculty who share their journey, expertise, and research as members of the School of Ocean Science and Engineering at USM.

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Photo of Rachel Lancaster

Marine Science

Unveiling Solutions for a Cleaner Marine Future

Meet Rachel Lancaster, a dedicated marine science researcher at USM whose groundbreaking work focuses on developing a universal method for analyzing microplastics and nanoplastics in aquatic systems, paving the way for a cleaner and healthier marine environment.

Read about Rachel


Nahruma Pieu

Marine Science

Becoming a Hydrodynamic Modeler

Nahruma Mehzabeen Pieu wants to become hydrodynamic modeler and be able to predict and understand flood scenarios due to storm surges, tsunamis, dam breaks, sea level rise, inland river flooding, compound flooding, etc. with the help of computer simulations.

Read about Pieu


David May

Coastal Science

GIS and Ecosystem Modeling

Born and raised in Wisconsin, David May's dream of one day becoming a marine biologist always seemed out of reach. To get where he wanted to be, he dedicated each summer of his undergrad career to at least one field of research experience. From interning at an aquarium to volunteering at the Charles Darwin Research Station in the Galapagos Islands, he's now found his way into geospatial science.

Read about May


Paul McDonald


Coastal Science

Examining Eastern Oysters

Paul McDonald's current research is examining eastern oysters from the northern Gulf of Mexico for tolerance to high thermal and low salinity conditions. 



Marthonette Aguilar

Ocean Engineering

I chose Ocean Engineering as a major, here's why.

Undergraduate Marthonette Aguilar shares why she chose Ocean Engineering as her major, after attending USM’s Hydrography Day during her Junior year in high school.

Read about Aguilar


Photo of Christian Hayes

Coastal Science

From Seagrass Systems to Turtle Sightings Surveys in Roatán, Honduras

Christian Hayes, Ph.D. student, has conducted meaningful and practical research in the marine environment, which has prepared him for a future career in academia.

Read about Hayes

Photo of Alfonso Cohuo


Coastal Science

Lab Work Opens Doors

As a graduate student in Coastal Sciences, Alfonso Cohuo, discovered his passion through his work in an ecology lab.

Read about Cohuo


Brandy Armstrong


Marine Science

Research Scientist with the Ocean Modeling  Group

As a staff research scientist with the ocean modeling group, Brandy Armstrong is working to develop a Coupled Ocean Atmosphere Wave Sediment Transport (COAWST) model of the Mississippi Sound and Bite.

Read about Armstrong


Photo of Lea Locke-Wynn


Marine Science

Building Ocean Forecasting Products for the Navy

After first year of graduate school, Lea Locke-Wynn lands a job at the Naval Oceanographic Office.

Read about Wynn


Steven Ates

Ocean Engineering

Joining the New Program

After starting off as a Marine Biology major, Steven Ates discovers his career path when he changes to the new program in Ocean Engineering.

Read about Ates


Blue Crab


Coastal Sciences

Blue Crab Fishery Discard Mortality

Dr. Zachary Darnell's research seeks to quantify and reduce discard mortality in the Gulf of Mexico blue crab fishery. 

Read about Dr. Darnell's research


Photo of Calvin Martin



Navigating Excellence: A Journey Through Hydrography and Education

Embark on a voyage with a seasoned hydrography professional, Calvin Martin, who is shaping the future of marine science education and inspiring the next generation of hydrographers. 

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Maarten Buijsman


Marine Science

Remotely Generated Internal Waves in Observations and Global Ocean Simulations

Dr. Maarten Buijsman, postdoc Dheeraj Varma, and graduate student Mujeeb Abdulfatai comprise the USM team that is part of the National Oceanographic Partnership Program project titled, "A Global Multi-agency Experiment on Internal Wave Energy, Mixing and Interactions in the Ocean and Their Representation in Global Ocean Models and Operational Forecasts."

Read About Dr. Buijsman's research


Dr. Chelsea Pederson

Marine Science

Paleoenvironmental Studies of the Mississippi Shelf

Dr. Chelsea Pederson's research involves the formation and alteration of carbonate sediments. Much of the work involves using the geochemistry of marine deposits to better understand the environment when they were formed.

Read About Dr. Pederson's Research


Dr. Leonardo Macelloni


Hydrographic Science

Deep Ocean Exploration and Imaging 

Dr. Leonardo Macelloni's research deals with all the aspects of deep ocean exploration and imaging of the seabed and the sub-seabed. Projects span from the search of the first WWII in the Gulf of Mexico the freighter Norlindo (funded by NOAA OE), to deploy seabed landers to assess the damage of the oil spill in fragile deep sea benthic communities (funded by NRDA).

Read About Dr. Macelloni


Photo of Dr. Gero Nootz


Ocean Engineering

The Next Generation of Autonomous Platforms

Dr. Gero Nootz’s research, which is carried out within the Ocean Exploration Lab (OEL), revolves around expanding the capabilities of a new generation of small autonomous platforms, be it Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) or Autonomous Surface vehicles (ASVs).

Read about Dr. Nootz 


Mahdi Razaz

Ocean Engineering

An Interdisciplinary Study of Scientific Importance 

Mahdi Razaz's research focuses on developing and deploying new classes of acoustic and optical sensors to perform measurements where currently available instrumentation is not adequate. 

Read about Razaz



Coastal Science

Developing Ecosystem Models in the Gulf of Mexico & the Mississippi River Delta

As a new faculty member, Dr. Kim de Mutsert, will use her research expertise in coastal and estuarine fish ecology and ecosystem modeling to mentor graduate students.




Dr. Kristina Mojica


Marine Science

NASA Venture: Controlling Ocean System Function

Dr. Kristina Mojica was recently involved in a NASA Earth Venture Suborbital mission focused resolving key processes controlling ocean system function, their influences on atmospheric aerosols and clouds and their implications for climate. 

Read about Dr. Mojica's Research