People

We are always looking for people who are excited to study marine microbes!
Meet our current members:
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Gwenn Hennon, Assistant Professor

Dr. Gwenn Hennon is an Assistant Professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Gwenn loves the way phytoplankton are both astonishingly beautiful and globally important. She wants to be able to predict phytoplankton community composition in the future ocean and understand how microbial interactions may shift.

Her hobbies include cross-country skiing, paddle boarding, and hiking with her husband and two kids.

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Megan Brauner, Graduate Student

Megan Brauner is a first-year doctoral student at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She is originally from Michigan and graduated from Washington State University with a B.S. in Biological Sciences in 2019. During her time at WSU, she worked in a soil microbial ecology lab. She then moved to Alaska and completed her M.S. in Biological Sciences from the University of Alaska Anchorage where she determined the distribution of microbial genes related to iron metabolism in a glacial influenced river and estuary environment. Her doctoral project investigates iron sequestration and microbial interactions within the Northern Gulf of Alaska (NGA). She is particularly interested in siderophores and associated genes. Megan loves spending time with her son, hiking with her dogs, reading, and adventuring in Alaska during her spare time.

Jake Cohen, Graduate Student

Jake Cohen is an MS student studying the impact of warming on microbial communities in the Northern Gulf of Alaska (NGA). Specifically, he is focusing on understanding how the NGA's microbial community structure responded to the 2019 North Pacific marine heatwave. This work is being conducted with the NGA Long Term Ecological Research Network and will help the project understand the resiliency of the ecosystem in response to both short term environmental perturbations and long-term climate change. Jake grew up in Boston and graduated from the University of Montana in 2019 with a B.S. in Microbiology and Microbial Ecology. When not in the lab or in the field, he enjoys backpacking, running, and taking advantage of any opportunity for adventure in Alaska's backcountry.

Kyle Dilliplaine, Graduate Student

Kyle Dilliplaine began his academic career at the University of North Carolina Wilmington where he received his B.S. in Marine Biology. During his tenure, he worked in the Benthic Ecology lab assisting research involving intertidal oyster reefs. He received his M.S. in Marine Biology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks where he investigated the impact of crude oil on sea-ice algae. While exploring the meiofaunal organisms (microscopic metazoans) found within the ice, he expanded his love of worms (Polychaeta) to include free-living flatworms (Xenacoelomorpha and Platyheminthes). He is now a doctoral student studying the response of sea-ice algal communities to sublethal crude oil exposure. This work involves the use of molecular techniques to explore the physiological response of these algae. Kyle is fascinated by the ephemeral nature of sea ice and the habitat it provides to primary producers that bloom within the ice each spring.  His work is important to help assess how anthropogenic climate change, and pollution, may alter the base of the Arctic food web.

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Stephanie O'Daly, Graduate Student

Stephanie is a marine biogeochemist with research focusing on the global ocean's biological carbon pump. Specifically, she studies marine particle dynamics and carbon flux in the global oceans. To do this she uses a variety of tools (e.g., sediment traps) and optical instruments (e.g., the Underwater Vision Profiler). Her dissertation research focuses on how sinking particles are transformed and how different particle sizes or types are more or less likely to sink to deeper depths, which can control carbon sequestration from the atmosphere. Through Stephanie's PhD she works with the Northern Gulf of Alaska LTER project and the US Go-Ship Program. Additionally, she works with Inspiring Girls Expeditions which runs tuition free programs to help empower young women through science, art, and wilderness exploration.