FSU Plankton Ecology and

Biogeochemistry Lab


Dr. Mike Stukel

Mike is an associate professor at FSU. His research spans the intersection of plankton ecology and marine biogeochemistry. He has a love for all the zooplankton of the oceans and a passion for understanding how these microscopic organisms influence everything from the global climate to the local fisheries yield.  Appendicularians are his favorite plankton.  Unless it's ctenophores.  Or salps.  Perhaps phaeodarians, krill, Lingulodinium polyedrum, hyperiid amphipods, Tomopteris, or pyrosomes.  It might be copepods.  But he doesn't like chaetognaths.  Contact: mstukel@fsu.edu

Curriculum VItae


Tom Kelly

Tom is a senior graduate student in the FSU Plankton Ecology and Biogeochemistry Lab. His research focuses on marine biogeochemistry and the application of such diverse tools as radioactive isotopes and inverse models to understanding the biological pump. Tom has been one of the go-to members of our department for everything from computer programming to instrument engineering and biogeochemical modeling.  He has also already logged several months at sea.  Contact: tbk14@my.fsu.edu

Curriculum VItae


Natalie Yingling

Natalie is in her third year at FSU.  She joined our lab after finishing a Masters degree from Moss Landing Marine Laboratories and is pursuing her Ph.D. at FSU.  Natalie is working on the intersection of phytoplankton and zooplankton ecology.  Her research includes investigating phytoplankton distributions in a salp bloom, determining phytoplankton nutrient utilization in the Gulf of Mexico, and investigating mixotrophy in the open ocean.  As a member of our lab, Natalie has already been to two parts of the Southern Ocean, as well as the California Current Ecosystem.  Contact: ny18b@my.fsu.edu


Christian Fender

Christian is a third year Ph.D. student with a love for gelatinous zooplankton.  He's pretty crazy about them.  His current research project is focused on salps of the Chatham Rise.  He is using scanning electron microscopy and other approaches in an attempt to define the niche space of different salp species.  He is also interested in pyrosomes and other pelagic tunicates.  Contact: ckf18b@my.fsu.edu



John Irving

John is another third year Ph.D. student in our lab.  He received a bachelor's degree from Stonehill College in Massachusetts, where he used ROMS model outputs and the LTRANS modeling package to quantify nutrient sources to the Gulf of Maine.  John joins the modeling wing of our lab and splits his time between the EOAS dept. and the Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies (COAPS).  John's focus is on incorporating predation- and starvation-induced mortality into Lagrangian individual-based models of larval snapper in the Gulf of Mexico.  He hopes to incorporate these tools into ecosystem-based management approaches.  Contact: jpi18@my.fsu.edu


Kehinde Opeyemi

Kehinde has just joined our lab.   He is pursuing a masters degree in Oceanography and plans to conduct research related to the interactions between marine biogeochemistry and surface currents and winds.  His research will likely address the impact of meso- and submesoscale features in the ocean on the carbon and nitrogen cycles.  Contact: ok20i@my.fsu.edu



Taylor Shropshire

Taylor just completed his Ph.D. in the FSU Plankton Ecology and Biogeochemistry Lab in summer of 2020. Taylor developed a three-dimensional model of ocean circulation and lower trophic level dynamics to model zooplankton in the Gulf of Mexico. He then developed an individual-based Lagrangian model of larval tuna and coupled it to his zooplankton model to simulate feeding, growth, starvation, predation, and survival rates of larval tuna in the oligotrophic regions in which they are spawned.  He is using his model to address the impact of climate change on these organisms.  He has recently started a post-doc with the University of Southern Mississippi and NOAA SEFSC. Contact: tas14j@my.fsu.edu



Matthew Smith

Matthew is an FSU undergraduate student who conducted image analysis of polyacrylamide gels and also conducted research looking at mixotrophy in Karenia brevis.  His research led to a published manuscript on which he was a coauthor.



Rebecca Morrow

Becca imaged fecal pellets using a dissecting microscope while working in our lab in spring of 2017.  She continued her image analysis after graduating and her research was eventually published in a first authored manuscript at Deep-Sea Research I.  Becca is currently pursuing her Masters degree with the International Master of Science in Marine Biological Resources (IMBRSea) Program.



Gabriela Vega

Gabby was an undergraduate who studied fecal pellet flux in our lab.  She helped us develop some of our methods for quantifying fecal pellets in sediment trap samples.



Dr. Sven Kranz

Sven is the head of FSU's phytoplankton ecology lab.  Since phytoplankton ecology and plankton ecology are very similar, we collaborate a lot.  In fact, our collaborations pre-date our time at FSU; we first started working together in Antarctica in 2012.  Sven focuses on photophysiology and carbon acquisition by marine phytoplankton.  He complements his controlled laboratory experiments with in situ observations in the hopes of understanding how phytoplankton will adapt to increase CO2 levels.  Contact: skranz@fsu.edu  Website: https://ecophysiology.fit/



Tristyn Bercel

Tristyn is a grad student in Sven's phytoplankton ecology lab.  Tristyn's research focuses on the physiological adaptations of phytoplankton to altered CO2 concentrations.  She has been conducting most of her research in the lab, where she maintains phytoplankton cultures acclimated to pre-industrial, modern, and future CO2 levels and measures important physiological parameters such as growth rate and photosynthetic health.  Contact: tbercel@fsu.edu

We have an active and growing lab and are always looking for more undergrads who are interested in the ocean, marine biota, and global biogeochemistry. For current lab members, see the links on the left or scroll down below:

This portion of our website is specifically designed to showcase our research for other oceanographers.  If you would like a broader overview of our work that was designed to be more accessible to the general public, please click on the 'Outreach' link on the top right.


Contact: Mike Stukel (mstukel@fsu.edu)

Florida State University

Dept. of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Science

Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies