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College of Arts & Sciences
Baruch Institute

Heidenreich and Van Meerssche Named Vernberg Fellows 2017

The F. John Vernberg Fellowships are awarded to a graduate student(S) conducting marine science research with the Baruch Institute for Marine and Coastal Sciences. The fellowships recognize excellence and research aptitude, and carry a $1,000 honorarium.

Kristin Heidenreich (left) is the recipient of the F. J Vernberg Bicentennial Fellowship in Marine Science.
Kristin is a M.S. candidate in the School of Earth, Ocean, & Environment – Marine Science.  Her research focus is to determine how important the role cryptophytes is in the phytoplankton community and food web interactions.  Using a radiolabeled carbon isotope to determine cryptophyte growth rate and rate relative to the total phytoplankton community.  The ecology of cryptophytes and how factors such as spectral quality of light impacts cryptophyte growth rates.  

Elise Van Meerssche (right) is the recipient of the F. J Vernberg Graduate Fellowship in Marine Science.
Elise is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Biological Sciences.  Her research is focused on species of phytoplankton, microalgae that produce phytotoxins which affect the entire food web, from the base to the apex, killing shellfish, fish, mammals, and birds and which may even cause human illness and death.  The diatom genus Pseudo-nitzschia can produce the neurotoxin domic acid. A full knowledge of the potential risks of domic acid on natural pelagic and benthic microalgal communities, the base of the food web, is necessary to understand the impact of domic acid on the entire food chain.