Month: April 2023

Congratulations to Dr. Patricia Myer, PhD!

Congratulations to Dr. Patricia Myer, the department’s newest PhD! Here is a description and some photos of Dr. Myer’s PhD journey, in her own words.

My Ph.D. dissertation defense was on March 20th, 2023, and titled “A Critical Examination of the Factors Controlling Methylmercury Uptake into Marine Plankton.”

I am a student in Dr. Robert Mason’s group and my research includes a three-year long time series of methylmercury in phytoplankton in Narragansett Bay, RI, a research cruise in the Northwest Pacific (NOAA GU1905), and laboratory uptake experiments with the dinoflagellate O. marina.

The goal of these projects was ultimately to compare the effects of biological and environmental variables (e.g., cell size, temperature, dissolved organic matter) between laboratory experiments and environmental studies to try to disentangle the leading drivers of methylmercury accumulation into plankton. The main takeaway is that relationships seen in laboratory experiments, both from my work and the literature, are not nearly as straightforward in the environment. There is a lot more work to be done to understand these complex relationships.

Currently, I have one publication from my prior undergraduate work ( and one from my work in the Mason lab that is not part of my dissertation ( I am currently preparing three papers relating to my dissertation for publication.

This work was funded by NSF Chemical Oceanography and the UConn Predoctoral Award.

Myer on the GU1905 cruise with a portable fume hood for processing methylmercury samples into particulate and dissolved fractions – October 2019


Myer presenting in Krakow, Poland at the International Conference for Mercury as a Global Pollutant (ICMGP) – September 2019

Kayla Mladinich Poole receives R. LeRoy Creswell Award for Outreach and Education

Kayla Mladinich Poole, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Marine Sciences, was awarded the R. LeRoy Creswell Award for Outreach and Education through the National Shellfisheries Association (NSA). Kayla was selected for her extensive communications and outreach experience with the public and in STEM, as well as for her work as an active volunteer at the annual NSA conferences. Kayla is the first recipient of the award created to honor R. LeRoy Creswell’s life and impressive work in outreach and extension services. Congratulations, Kayla!


Kayla and Prof. Evan Ward collecting samples in the field
Kayla analyzing samples in the lab