Principal Investigator

Steven Roberts

Associate Director of the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington where his research focuses on characterizing physiological response of aquatic species to environmental change with a particular focus on the relationship of transcriptomics, genetics, and epigenetic modifications. Current research efforts include characterizing the adaptive potential of native bivalves in Puget Sound and the functional role of DNA methylation in marine invertebrates.

Graduate Students

Laura Spencer

Lab notebook | CV |

As a Univeristy of Washington alumna with a B.S. in Chemical Oceanography, I am very pleased to return to the UW to pursue a Masters at SAFS as an NSF Graduate Fellow. In the years between I began my career at SustainableWorks, an ARRA-funded energy efficiency program in Seattle working to reduce residential energy consumption, then with the Seattle-based consulting firm Ross Strategic on a spectrum of environmental projects such as flood mitigation, Puget Sound salmon recovery, air quality on tribal lands, the EPA Exchange Network, etc. Most recently I joined the Puget Sound Restoration Fund, a non-profit using boots-on-the-ground tactics to restore the native Olympia oyster & Pinto abalone in Puget Sound, where I gained valuable experience in hatchery techniques and a curiosity in shellfish restoration and research. Additionally, dual interests in scientific education/outreach and Ocean Acifidification led to volunteering with the Seattle Aquarium, the Ocean Inquiry Project, WA Sea Grant, and Earth Echo. In joining the Roberts Lab I seek to perform applied research to provide useful knowledge for shellfish aquaculture and restoration communities, with the express interest of maintaining affordable, delicious shellfish on our tables and shorelines.


  • NSF Graduate Research Fellowships Program: 2017, 2018, & 2020
  • UW TA-ships
    • Fall 2018: BIOL 250, Marine Biology with Dr. Jose Guzman
    • Winter 2018, Winter 2019: FSH 324, Aquatic Animal Physiology And Reproduction with Dr. Graham Young.
    • Spring 2019: FSH 310, Shellfish Biology, with Dr. Jackie Padilla-Gamiño.
  • Hall Conservation Genetics Research Award

Yaamini Venkataraman

Lab notebook | CV | Twitter: @YaaminiV | ORCID iD |

As a California Bay Area native, I grew up going to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I was always floored by the intricacies of the organisms themselves, but also how complex their environments were. These experiences pushed me to get my B.S. in General Biology and B.A. in Environmental Policy at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). I studied several different species-environment interactions, including copepods and copper toxicity at the Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies, marsh plants species and increased carbon inputs at the Smithsonian Institute for Environmental Studies and limpet-surfgrass interactions under acidified conditions at UCSD. At the Roberts Lab, I study how climate change is going to affect the organisms in our current and future oceans. My current projects involve examining ocean acidification’s effects on oysters using “-omic” techniques. Specifically, I study how exposure to ocean acidification in one generation affects the epigenome, and whether or not transgenerational epigenetic inheritance contributes to phenotypic plasticity in Pacific and Eastern oysters.

I’m also interested in projects at the intersection of science, policy and communication! I’m on the baord of Engage at UW, and previously served on the Graduate and Professional Student Senate Science and Policy Steering Committee. I am a Social Media Intern at the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, where I spearheaded a profile series featuring graduate students in the Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program. I’m the President of the School of Aquatic and Fishery Science’s graduate student organization, FINS and do outreach with Students Explore Aquatic Sciences.

If you want to know more about my path to graduate school, what it’s like to be a WOC in environmental sciences, my research, my school experience, or my extracurriculars, please reach out. Looking forward to hearing from you!


Grace Crandall

Lab notebook | | iTunes Podcast: DecaPod | thesis portal:

I have been in love with the ocean and its critters my entire life, having grown up on the central California coast. I have also been intrigued by pathogens and diseases in humans and animals ever since I first learned about the bubonic plague in elementary school. During undergrad, I veared more toward my marine interests while I attended UW and happily found myself in the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences. After volunteering in the Roberts lab from 2014-2016, and then having the great opportunity of working as a lab technician from 2016-2017, I have finally become a part of the graduate student research team (Winter 2018). For my thesis, I get to tie in some of my disease interests by investigating the effects of temperature and disease – Bitter Crab Syndrome, caused by parasitic dinoflagellate Hematodinium spp. – on the genetic expression of Tanner Crabs (Chionoecetes bairdi). If you would like to learn more about this specific project, you can contact me directly, or check out my online portal for the project at, or subscribe and listen to my podcast, DecaPod, which is discoverable on iTunes as well as in the Podcast tab.

In addition to my thesis research, I am starting a 1-year certificate program in OneHealth here at UW (Fall 2019) during which I will be taking courses in human health, environmental health, and animal health as well as conducting my own capstone project. This is a great opportunity for me to explore areas of science that I have always been curious about and getting recognized for it! And I still will have time to perform my own research for my crab project. If you would like to learn more about OneHealth or balancing thesis work along with other educational endevours, feel free to email me.


Aidan Coyle

Lab notebook |

Growing up in coastal Alaska, I spent most of my youth being poked by sea urchins and stung by jellyfish. Undeterred, I dove into marine research at Bowdoin College, and investigated the invasive European green crab and uncovered a linkage between cold tolerance and mitochondrial genotype. After graduating, I joined the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, where I investigated snow and Tanner crab fecundity and movement, surveyed the St. Matthew Island blue king crab population, and gathered data on Kodiak-area fisheries. I also spent a summer at a remote salmon weir, where I monitored the sockeye run and made incredible quantities of jam. I then joined the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and researched forage fish spawning and development. While at the Roberts lab, I plan to investigate how Bitter Crab Syndrome impacts Tanner crabs in southeast Alaska.

If you’d like to hear about my research, adjusting to grad school, or anything else, feel free to email me!


-School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences Fellowship (September 2020-Present)

Postdoctoral Research Associates

Shelly Trigg

Lab notebook | website | CV | | ORCID iD

I joined the Roberts lab in September 2018 after completing my Ph.D. in Biolgoy at UC San Diego. I’m interested in how organisms respond to environmental change and understanding what species will be tolerant or intolerant to particular environmental conditions in the face of climate change. I study a variety of animals (from shellfish to sea lice to salmon) from a physiological and molecular systems perspective by conducting experiments that simulate various ocean conditions and use omics technologies (like epigenomics, proteomics, and metabolomics) to measure animal response. To process these diverse datasets, I develop and implement bioinformatics pipelines for data normalization, statistical analyses, and biological pathway analyses. I pair the ‘omics’ data with health observations to understand how exactly animals compensate for changes in the environment. I use an open access online lab notebook and GitHub to publicly share my analyses and support reproducibility. My research addresses the overarching goal of identifying common responses that could be predictive of species tolerance for environmental change. I aim for my research to identify environmental factors that lead to stronger animal responses, and help prioritize the protection of particular species and environmental mitigation strategies. I am also passionate about contributing to education around how climate change may impact certain animals. To achieve my research and education outreach aims I collaborate with commercial, tribal, and governmental fisheries organizations, and actively participate in outreach media development. Outside of research, I enjoy all outdoor activities from co-ed team sports to hiking, backpacking, camping, fly-fishing, climbing, and snowboarding.

Matt George

Lab notebook | website | CV | | ORCID iD

As a National Oceanic Partnership Program (NOPP) Fellow I work jointly with the Roberts labs at the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington and Mackenzie Gavery at the NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center located in Seattle, Washington. My research leverages state-of-the-art genomics tools to study environment-physiology interactions within marine organisms, with a particular emphasis on the molecular mechanisms that make aquaculture species within Washington State resilient to environmental change. Through my work I routinely conduct field and laboratory experiments to generate large-scale ‘omics’ datasets (e.g. epigenomics, proteomics, and metabolomics) that can be used to characterize the genetic diversity present within natural populations. This work serves to inform conservation efforts and the development of criteria for broodstock selection within the aquaculture industry to esnure the continued sustainable production of seafood within the United States. To process these diverse datasets, I develop and implement bioinformatics pipelines for data normalization, statistical analyses, and biological pathway analyses. I use an open access online lab notebook and GitHub to publicly share my analyses and support reproducibility. To achieve my research and education outreach aims I collaborate with commercial, tribal, and governmental fisheries organizations, and actively participate in outreach media development. I also regularly take advantage of the amazing hiking and boating activities that Pacific Northwest has to offer with my wife and two-year-old son.

Research Scientists

Sam White

Brent Vadopalas

Kaitlyn Mitchell

Crystal Simchick

Giles Goetz

Undergraduate Students

Hana Ra

Delenay Lawson


Postdoctoral Research Associates

Hollie Putnam

Graduate Students

Jay Dimond

Megan Hintz

Rhonda Elliot

Jake Heare

Andy Jasonowicz

Claire Olson

Mackenzie Gavery

Emma Timmins-Schiffman

Doug Immerman

Caroline Storer

Dave Metzger


Ronit (pre-college) (2019)

Alanna Greene (2019)

Grace Crandall (2016) proposal paper slides presentation notebook

Jonathan Allen UW (2016) proposal paper slides presentation notebook

Mrunmayee Manohar Shete (2015) notebook

Katie Jackson UW SAFS (2015)

Joelle Blaise UW SAFS (2014)

Hannah Wear; UW SAFS (2013-2014) proposal paper poster notebook

Charles Duber; UW SAFS (2013-2014) proposal paper slides notebook

Jessica Blanchette; UW SAFS (2013-2014) proposal paper slides notebook

Bradley Chi; UW SAFS proposal paper slides

Paul Ehlen; UW FISH499 blog slides

Harry Podschwit; UW notebook

Derek Brady; UW SAFS proposal paper slides

Manel Khan; UW notebook

David Berman; UW SAFS proposal paper

Herschel Cox; UW SAFS proposal paper

Lexie Miller; UW FISH499 paper

Jason Tayag; UW SAFS proposal paper slides

Sonia Albin; UW SAFS proposal paper slides

Zac Halls; UW notebook

Amanda Davis FISH499; UW paper

Christina Miller FISH498; UW notebook

Rony Thi; UW notebook

Anna Fabrizio; UW SAFS proposal | paper | presentation

Kevin Jeong; UW FISH499 notebook

Rachel Thompson; UW SAFS proposal | paper | slides

Leslie Jensen; UW SAFS proposal | paper | slides | video

Christin McLemore; UW SAFS proposal | paper | slides | video

Tatyana Marushchak; UW Chemistry project

Stephannie Spurr; UW SAFS paper | 499

Katie Fulkerson; UW SAFS proposal | paper | presentation

Cullen Taplin; UW SAFS proposal | paper | presentation

Juliann Clark; UW project

Tushara Saint Vitus; UW SAFS project

Lindsay Braun; Santa Clara University project

Mairead Bermingham; N Univ of Ireland, Cork project

Zachary Schiller; Tufts University project

Visiting Scientists

Javier A. Rodriguez-Casariego; Florida International University
August 2019

Roberto Carlos Arredondo Espinoza; Mexico
Spring 2019

Marcos Espinel; Universidad Científica del Sur, Peru
April 2017

Dr. Cristian Gallardo; University of Concepcion
Autumn 2016

Dr. Hollie Putnam; Research Associate
Autumn 2016

Jose Angel Hidalgo de la Toba; CIBNOR PhD student
April 2016
New method for determining size at age in individuals to inform geoduck population models.

Timothy Green; University of Queensland

Adelaide Rhodes; Visiting Scholar