Laura Jurgens, Primary Investigator

Dr. Jurgens joined faculty in the Department of Marine Biology at Texas A&M University Galveston (TAMUG) in January 2019. She is a core faculty member in the Marine Biology Interdisciplinary Program at TAMUG and in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) Interdisciplinary Doctoral Degree Program at Texas A&M (College Station). Dr. Jurgens received her Ph.D. in Ecology at the University of California Davis, where she studied impacts of extreme events on coastal marine populations and ecosystems. She then spent three years as a postdoc at Temple University, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, and Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute studying latitudinal variation in species invasions. She also has a background in policy work and community organizing, and is a former community college transfer student. She is committed to increasing equity and inclusion in science, public engagement, and mentoring students with non-traditional backgrounds. Her research investigates processes underpinning ecological resilience from population to ecosystem levels, and from local site to latitudinal scales.

Melissa Ciesielski, Senior Research Associate

Melissa joined the Jurgens Lab in February 2019, after completing 2 years as a Coastal Resource Management Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines. Prior to her Peace Corps service, she received a Master’s degree in Environmental Science from Western Washington University, where she studied the effects of sediment porewater and water column chemistry on eelgrass (Zostera marina). She is passionate about scientific communication and has a background in environmental education and outreach.