Welcoming Three New Lab Members!

The Pinsky Lab is pleased to welcome two new graduate students, Jaelyn Bos & Kyra Fitz, and a new Post-doc, Brendan Reid.

Kyra is joining the lab as a 1st year Ph.D. student in the Ecology and Evolution program. She has a B.S. in Marine Biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She has studied the impacts of environmental change on a variety of species including corals, elephant seals, sea lions, sea turtles, and larval fish. Her research interests include population genomics, marine conservation biology, and spatial ecology. In her free time she enjoys playing tennis, swimming, cooking, and taking her dog, Lucy, to parks.

Jaelyn is also joining the lab as a Ph.D. student in the Ecology and Evolution program. She is from Maryland, and graduated from University of Maryland, Baltimore County in 2017 with bachelors’ degrees in environmental science and biology. From 2017 to 2019, she served with the Peace Corps in Mozambique, teaching high school biology. She’s interested in coral reefs, conservation, and ecosystem resilience, particularly in East Africa. She also enjoys hiking, running, and hanging out with friends and family (from a distance).

Brendan grew up in New Jersey and is happy to be back working for the Garden State! He received his Masters from Columbia University and his PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and post-PhD he has worked at the American Museum of Natural History and at Michigan State’s Kellogg Biological Station. He is interested in gene flow and the demographics of species and communities, and his past work has used genetics to understand these processes in a wide variety of taxa (crustaceans, sloths, marine and freshwater turtles, and fish). Brendan currently lives with his girlfriend and two cats in New York City and he enjoys hiking, reading, and music.

Jennifer Hoey defends her PhD!


Dr. Jennifer Hoey successfully defended her PhD dissertation, “Adaptation and evolutionary potential in light of anthropogenic stressors in the ocean” on May 11th, 2020! It was by videoconference, with audience members calling in from literally all over the world. Jennifer’s research on evolutionary patterns in summer flounder has already been published in two papers, Hoey et al. 2018 Evolutionary Applications and Hoey et al. 2020 Molecular Ecology, with a third on the way. Jennifer has also done incredible science outreach work as part of the Science Partnership Committee within the National Network for Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation (NNOCCI). She has become a vital part of not only our lab, but the entire Rutgers Ecology & Evolution community through her work with the graduate program, outdoor activities, dining, art and more. She will be sorely missed as she moves on to a postdoc at UC Santa Cruz. The biggest congratulations and thank you to Jennifer on behalf of the entire Pinsky lab and DEENR!

Amaia Astarloa from U. Basque Country, Spain visiting us on a research exchange

Amaia Astarloa, a PhD student from the AZTI Foundation in Pasaia, Spain (and the University of Basque Country), is visiting to collaborate with members of our lab on her research. She is currently developing her thesis on the role of the environment and prey in driving marine predator distribution and abundance in the Bay of Biscay. She is advised by Drs. Guillem Chust and Maite Louzao in the Marine Environment and Resources program. Welcome, Amaia!

Welcome to Jude Kong!

We’re excited to welcome Dr. Jude Kong to the lab! Jude brings a wealth of experience in mathematical modeling and applied math, including for diseases and aquatic ecosystems. He has his PhD from U. Alberta and will be working on process-based models for shifting species distributions. Welcome, Jude!

Communities respond within a year to temperature variation

Map of survey area with sub-regions colored by magnitude of long-term change in CTI in spring.

Patrick’s paper from his MS is now online early at Ecography! He studied temporal change in community composition across the Northeast US continental shelf and found that changes through time could be explained by species associations with bottom temperature. Measured as the Community Temperature Index (CTI), composition changed by about one third of a degree (°C) for every 1 °C increase in bottom temperature on average. Species have non-linear responses to changes in temperature, however, and these nonlinearities scaled up to a nonlinear relationship between composition and temperature.

Tools of Science videos feature lab members

‘Tools of Science’ is a series of unique, educational videos designed to explore the nature and process of science through the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Videos introduce the science and engineering practices from the point of view of practicing scientists and are designed for easy integration into any STEM experience to help illustrate the non-linear, cyclical nature of science and the creative vision and skills needed to conduct scientific research. Pinsky Lab members are featured in the Modeling video, or check out them all here. The films were developed by Kay Bidle, Janice McDonnell, Kim Thamatrakoln (all at Rutgers) and Tilapia Film, Inc.


Our lab haiku

From lab meeting this week led by Jennifer Hoey, we developed a “sciku“:

Genomes and climate
Changing across land, sea, sky.
Let’s discover why!

Becca’s research on Science Friday

Becca Selden teamed up with DataSpire’s Kristin Hunter-Thomson to develop an educational resource with Science Friday’s educational director Ariel Zych. The resource teaches 7-12th grade high school students to interpret the impacts of warming oceans on marine ecosystems. Lab members Katrina Catalano, and Lisa McManus provided valuable scientific review of the resource prior to its publication.

Check it out at:


The ocean is changing. As it changes, the ecosystem and the species within the ocean are impacted, sometimes in surprising ways. This is a story about how some of those changes—in temperature, where fish populations live, and the fishing communities that rely upon them—could play out along the Atlantic Coast in the next century. It’s also a story about making predictions and using evidence from data. Here’s how it’s going to work:

  1. Read a story from the docks of New England: What’s changing?
  2. Meet a scientist and think like one: How do we collect data on the oceans?
  3. Think like a fish: Use data to model changes in fish populations.
  4. Make predictions: Use your model to make predictions and inform the community