Amber McCammon

Arkansas State University

Matthew Nicholson

Arkansas State University (2016-Present)

Dissertation: A comprehensive assessment of trophic linkages of fish-parasitic gnathiid isopods in coral reef communities.

Matt completed his Bachelor’s degree at Florida Gulf Coast University and his Master’s at the University of Exeter (UK). He has worked on a variety of species including sharks, jellyfish, and seabirds and used various methods to look at many trophic interactions in marine environments and is applying those methods to look at how parasites fit in coral reef food webs.

Instagram: @baldiewithagoatee; Twitter: @sharkynichol

J. Andrés Pagán

University of Porto

Gina Hendrick

Arkansas State University (2018-Present)

Dissertation: Identification of Caribbean gnathiid isopod fish hosts and factors affecting gnathiid growth and host immune response.

Gina completed her Master’s in Biology at Arkansas State University. For her thesis she developed molecular methods to identify fish hosts of gnathiid isopods from DNA within their blood meals, as well as determined the integrity of host DNA at various time intervals post-feeding. Her current research deals with host identification of Caribbean gnathiid isopods, effects of host species on gnathiid growth, and the immune response of gnathiid isopod fish hosts.

ResearchGate:; Instagram: @ZambeziG

Cristiana I Marques

University of Porto (co-advised w/ Dr. Miguel Carneiro) (2019-Present)

Dissertation: The colour of cooperation: Linking colour polymorphism to mutualistic behaviour in the Caribbean shaknose goby (Elacatinus evelynae)

Cristiana completed her Masters in Biodiversity, Genetics and Evolution at CIBIO-InBIO in 2017. For her thesis, she investigated the genetic mechanisms underlying plumage color variation in Gouldian finches by applying cutting-edge genomic tools. Although her main research sets on understanding the mechanisms leading to and shaping phenotypic diversity with especial interest on behavioral phenotypes and coloration, she’s been involved in other projects on bird ecology and behavior. Her research skills span different branches in science including bird ringing, behavioral experimentation, and NGS data analysis.

ResearchGate:; CIBIO:

Petro van Jaarsveld

University of KwaZulu-Natal (co-advised w/ Dr. Derek Stretch) (2020-Present)

Dissertation: Coral reef cleaning station dynamics in a tropical-temperate transition zone, Sodwana Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

Petro is a aquatic ecologist with more than 15 years of progressive experience encompassing both the public and private sectors, specializing in Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM), Rapid Biological Assessment (RBA), River Health Assessment (RHA), Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), River EcoStatus Monitoring Programme (REMP) implementation and Instream Flow Requirement (IFR) determination. Petro also has 5 years of experience in marine ecology, fish and coral identification, and SCUBA instruction.


Clayton Vondriska

Arkansas State University (2020-Present)

Dissertation: Sensory ecology of parasitic gnathiid isopods in the Caribbean

Clay received his Master’s in Biology working with the Sikkel Lab investigating the chemical ecology of parasitic gnathiid isopods in the Caribbean. Prior to that, Clay received his Bachelor’s in Zoology from The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. There he researched the behavior of cleaner organisms and client reef fishes with Drs. Meg Daly and Ben Titus. At OSU, Clay also worked with ATMAR in Puerto Rico conducting sea turtle surveys. His current research interests include studying the behavior and ecology of symbiotic relationships.

Website:; Twitter/Instagram: @cvondriska


Mary Shodipo

Silliman University

Anna Caroline Lee

Arkansas State University (2018-Present)

Project: Aggregation dynamics in free-living stages of fish-parasitic gnathiid isopods.

AC received her Bachelor’s of Arts in Biology from Hendrix College.

Samantha Russell

Arkansas State University (2019-Present)

Thesis: Effect of coral species on parasitic gnathiid isopods of Caribbean reef fishes.

Sam completed her Bachelor’s in Marine Biology at the University of Maine-Orono. She went on to do sea turtle & marine mammal rescue & rehab internships with the New England & Mystic Aquariums, respectively. Her most recent internship was at the Cape Eleuthera Institute as a research assistant studying migratory pelagic species. Her current research is investigating how different species of coral polyps affect the abundance of gnathiid isopods in coral reef systems of the Caribbean.

Annie Savage

University of the Virgin Islands (2019-Present)

Thesis: Impacts of coral disease on populations of fish-parasitic gnathiid isopods in the Virgin Islands.

Annie graduated from Arkansas State University in 2019 with a Bachelor’s in both Environmental Science and Biological Sciences with a minor in Marine Science. During her undergrad degree, she worked as part of the Sikkel lab researching marine fish ectoparasites in the United States Virgin Islands.

Past Graduate Students

Dr. John Artim (Ph.D.)
Arkansas State University
William Jenkins (M.Sc.)
Arkansas State University
Lance Renoux (M.Sc.)
Arkansas State University
Tina Rey Santos (M.Sc.)
Silliman University
Joseph Sellers (M.Sc.)
University of Virgin Islands
Dr. Rachel Welicky (Ph.D.)
Arkansas State University
Ann Marie Coile (M.Sc.)
Arkansas State University
Amber Packard (M.Sc.)
University of the Virgin Islands
Jan-Alexis Berry (M.Sc.)
University of the Virgin Islands
Claire Spitzer (M.Sc.)
San Diego State University