Graduate Students

Master of Science (M.S.)

Olivia Alexander

Alexander, Olivia

Advisor: Dr. Nisse Goldberg
Thesis: Research on The Wrack on the Coast of Jacksonville, Florida 

Olivia Alexander grew up in the State of Florida and has always been in or near the water and wildlife. With Dr. Nisse Goldberg as her advisor, she will be conducting her research on the wrack (seaweed line) on the coast of Jacksonville, Florida.

Jack Dales

Dales, John (Jack)

Advisor(s): Dr. Bryan Franks and Dr. Jeremy Stalker.
Thesis: Investigation of the Diets of Lemon Sharks Across Habitats Varying from Pristine to Anthropogenically Impacted Through Stable Isotope Analysis

Jack Dales is originally from Kalamazoo, Michigan. Growing up around the Great Lakes, he has always had a fascination with large bodies of water and the organisms that inhabit them. Jack graduated from Michigan State University with a bachelor’s degree in Fisheries and Wildlife, and a minor in Marine Ecosystem Management, where he earned an internship and later a position as a research technician at the Cape Eleuthera Institute (CEI) in Eleuthera, the Bahamas. At CEI, he investigated the pelagic zone, particularly fish aggregation device camera surveys and silky shark telemetry and was a husbandry volunteer in a genetics laboratory, focusing on genomic and morphological novelties in zebra fish. In preparation for graduate school, he has combined his past knowledge with skills recently learned through an internship with the Shark Lab at the Bimini Biological Field Station Foundation.

Melanie Doan

Doan, Melanie  

Advisor: TBA
Thesis: TBA

Melanie Doan is a first year Master of Science student who is interested in working with sharks, and in the fields of geology and GIS. At the Florida Atlantic University, Melanie earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and conducted undergraduate research that focused on the annual blacktip shark migration and some predator/prey interactions with blacktips and great hammerheads. As a former swimmer with FAU, she can be found in the water if not at school.  


Caroline Golightly

Golightly, Caroline

Advisor: TBA
Thesis: TBA

Caroline Golightly is from Charlotte, North Carolina and earned a Bachelor's degree in Biology at Randolph-Macon College in 2020. As a graduate student with the Marine Science Research Institute, she is interested in all thing's marine life, including marine mammals, corals, plants and how human activity affects our oceans and marine friends.


Clay Hewett

Hewett, Clay

Advisor: Dr. Daniel McCarthy
Thesis: Diet and Resulting Carbon and Nitrogen Stable Isotopic Ratios of a Common Reef Building Polychaete Residing on the Southern Florida Coastline, Phragmatopoma lapidosa

Clay Hewett was born and raised in the Jacksonville area. He received his undergraduate degree in Integrative Animal Biology at USF. After earning his degree, he was fortunate enough to spend ten months in the Florida Keys working with MOTE Marine Laboratory on the impacts of ocean acidification in different benthic invertebrates within the Florida Keys. As a M.S. graduate student at JU, Clay is studying the diet and carbon and nitrogen stable isotope ratios of Phragmatopoma lapidosa and hoping to elucidate any trends or changes among similar populations extending the coastline, as well as to compare the signatures of geographically close subtidal and intertidal populations. He has always had an interest in anthropogenic impacts on ecosystems and is hoping to continue to research habitats under these impacts and help to influence conservation and policies relating to them! In his free time, he loves to surf, mountain bike, hang out with the pup, and learn to cook new things!


Mackenzie Horton

Horton, MacKenzie (Kenzie) 

Advisor: TBA
Thesis: TBA 

Kenzie Horton is a native Floridian from Orlando/Tampa. She received her Bachelor of Marine Science degree from the University of South Florida in 2016, where she worked on an undergraduate thesis doing a comparative analysis of the epidermis and goblet cell abundance in four elasmobranch species. She is currently working as a Fisheries Biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in the Fisheries Independent Monitoring program to provide data on managed and non-managed fish using a variety of gear types including small seines, large seines, trawls, and Baited Remote Underwater Video surveys. She recently accepted a position as a university co-liaison for the American Fisheries Society Florida chapter student subunit to help increase graduate student involvement within the society as well as with other graduate students across the state. Her research interests include gaining more experience with telemetry, acoustic monitoring, and data analysis.     

Andrew Kline

Kline, Andrew  

Advisor: Dr. Melinda Simmons
Thesis: Physical Drivers of Primary Productivity in the Lower St. Johns River

Andrew Kline is from Reedsville, Pennsylvania and has been a Master of Science student since Fall 2020. Throughout his childhood, he and his family vacationed to the Outer Banks, North Carolina, where he pondered why the ocean behaves as it does, and what the creatures were there. To fulfill these questions-turned-desires, he attended Coastal Carolina University (CCU) in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where he worked with squid otoliths, assessed the physical parameters of a local swash zone and published undergraduate research in the journal, Korallion. His work in the Korallion concerned the density and depth distribution of the long-spined sea urchin and the west Indian sea egg in Discovery Bay, Jamaica. After graduating, he worked as a divemaster for a watersports company in Murrells Inlet, SC and spent time as a mate aboard dolphin cruises, learning to drive a variety of boats. He later traveled to Beqa Island, Fiji to conduct research regarding the coral reefs, mangroves, and shark populations on and around the small island to illuminate the local government of Beqa on the health of their marine ecosystems. Here at JU, his thesis focuses on physical measurements, such as flow and water discharge, of several important tributaries in the Lower St. Johns River system with tide and pairing that with primary productivity data. Once graduated, Andrew would like to become a physical oceanographer and continue growing his knowledge in the vast field of marine science. In his down time, he likes to sing, play piano, surf, travel, workout, hang with friends, and do adrenaline-inducing activities such as blackwater dive, skydive, and bungee jump.  




Conor O'Meally

O'Meally, Conor  

Advisor: Dr. Gretchen Bielmyser-Fraser
Thesis: Comparative Study of Metal Concentrations in Blacktip Sharks (Carcharhinus limbatus) Caught Off the Maryland Coast Versus the Florida Coast

Conor O’Meally grew up in Maryland where his passion for marine biology began. He recently graduated from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington with a bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology. During his undergraduate career, he had amazing opportunities building his knowledge and passion for the marine world. He was able to intern at a local sea turtle rescue and rehabilitation center where he worked with sick and injured sea turtles. Before graduating, he studied abroad in Western Australia and took courses in Marine Ecology, where he was able to see the first-hand positive impacts of Marine Protected Areas. For the last two years, he has worked as a first mate on a shark fishing boat that brings sharks on board for research and educational purposes. This position gave him the unforgettable experience of working directly with sharks and learning about different species. The experience inspired his idea for a thesis project which will be comparing blood, tissue, and DNA samples of blacktip sharks to examine metal concentrations and study the physiological impacts these concentrations may have.  



Rooney, Jack

Rooney, Jack  

Advisor: TBA
Thesis: TBA

Jack Rooney grew up in the suburbs of Albany, New York and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Biology at Roger Williams University in 2020. He is currently a first-year graduate student at JU with the Marine Science Research Institute and is looking forward to the opportunities that JU will provide for him! 



Wise, Megan

Wise, Megan  

Advisor: Dr. Gretchen Bielmyer-Fraser
Thesis (Unofficial Title): Comparing Trace Metal Concentrations (and the Neurotoxin BMAA) Between Pelagic Sharks and Benthic Rays

Megan Wise is originally from Toledo, Ohio. While there are no sharks in Toledo, she has loved them and the ocean since she was a child. This love led Megan to Coastal Carolina University, where she received her B.S. in Marine Science. While in undergrad, she discovered her love for traveling when she studied abroad on Semester at Sea! While at CCU, she was also lucky enough to take a shark biology course with Dr. Dan Abel and travel to the Bimini Biological Field Station, where she was able to learn from shark experts, including Shark Doc himself, Dr. Samuel Gruber. This experience helped solidify her decision to pursue shark research as a career and in 2020, she entered JU’s Marine Science graduate program to begin a thesis research project. She hopes to continue with shark research after leaving JU and to combine her love for sharks and traveling one day soon.  

Master of Arts (M.A.)



Dual Degree (M.A./M.P.P.)




Kimberly Trumbull

Trumbull, Kimberly

Advisor: TBA
Capstone: TBA

Kimberly Trumbull is a native of Jacksonville, FL pursuing a Master of Arts in Marine Science. Kimberly grew up in a community that cultivated her fascination of water and marine life. Her fondest memories are those spent on the water with family and marine focused field trips in grade school. Inspired by the Florida lifestyle, she is following her passion for learning about our world’s oceans and hopes to share the wonder and excitement with others. Kimberly holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music Performance from Jacksonville University and currently works in the Alumni Engagement Office for the university.