Dr. Karl D. Castillo, Principal Investigator

Assistant Professor, Marine Sciences Department University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2012 - present)

Postdoc, UNC-Chapel Hill (2012; supervisors, Justin Ries/John Bruno)
Ph.D., University of South Carolina (2008; supervisor, Brian Helmuth)
M.S., University of South Carolina (2003; supervisor, Brian Helmuth)
B.S., Southeast Missouri State University (1998; supervisors, Adelaide Parsons and Margaret Waterman)

Curriculum Vitae



Dr. Sarah W. Davies, Postdoctoral Research Associate

Sarah is a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Castillo lab. She completed her B.Sc. in Biology at The University of Victoria, Canada in 2004, her M.Sc. in Marine Sciences at The University of Calgary in 2009, and her Ph.D. in Ecology, Evolution and Behavior at The University of Texas at Austin in 2014. She is largely interested in the factors that influence species ranges and species’ potential for adaptation, acclimatization, or dispersal to new habitats in the face of climate change. Her work at UNC focuses on understanding the transcriptomic responses of coral host and symbionts to ocean warming and acidification. She is co-supervised by Dr. Karl Castillo, Dr. Adrian Marchetti, and Dr. Justin Ries (Northeastern University).

Contact info:


Justin Baumann, Ph. D. Student

Justin is a PhD student in the Castillo lab. He completed his B.S. in Biology and Earth Sciences at Ohio State University in 2011, and his M.S. in Earth Sciences also at Ohio State in 2013. His previous work has been on coral physiology including the response of corals to stressors such as ocean warming and ocean acidification. His proposed research will investigate thermal history, susceptibility and resilience of several species of Caribbean corals across a latitudinal gradient on the Belize Barrier Reef System. He co-founded and helps manage the UNC-MASC graduate student blog: underthecblog.wordpress.com

Contact info: Justin Baumann

Clare Fieseler, Ph. D. Student

Clare is a Ph.D. student in the Castillo Lab studying coral reef resilience and marine management discourse. Her interdisciplinary dissertation research is made possible through UNC's Curriculum for the Environment & Ecology. Prior to attending UNC, she completed a masters at Duke University and a bachelors at Georgetown University. Her dissertation research in funded through the Nature Conservancy and the National Geographic Society. She is highly involved in science communication, drawing from her past employment in natural history filmmaking and her current freelance science reporting for public radio. Clare is the co-founder and current director of Scientist with Stories, a non-profit that trains scientists to communicate with the public through narrative. She often blogs at blogs.nationalgeographic.com. She is co-supervised by Dr. Karl Castillo and Dr. Jaye Cable.

Contact info: Clare Fieseler 
cfieseler@unc.edu; Website: www.cfieseler.com   


John P. Rippe, Ph. D. Student

J.P. is a PhD student in the Castillo Lab. His previous education was at the University of Virginia, where he earned his B.S. in Environmental Sciences and B.A. in Biology with specialization in Environmental and Biological Conservation. While an undergraduate, he conducted research on the hydrodynamic effects of turf algae coral metabolic activity. His proposed work will focus on phase shift ecology and resilience in coral reef systems and the incorporation of these variables in conservation strategies.

Contact info:
John P. Rippe

Hannah Aichelman
, Lab Manager

Hannah graduated from UNC Chapel Hill in May 2014 with a B.S. in Environmental Science and a minor in Marine Science. She worked in the Castillo Lab her senior year but left after graduation to work as a deckhand and an environmental science educator on board the S/V Denis Sullivan. She is now back in Chapel Hill working as the lab manager for the Castillo Lab. She is also working on a project concerning how thermal stress and feeding impact the growth of the temperate coral Oculina arbuscula.

Contact info: hannahaichelman@gmail.com
Website: https://hannahaichelman.wordpress.com

Colleen Bove
, Lab Technician

Colleen is the lab technician in the Castillo lab. She completed her B.S. in Marine Biology and a minor in Chemistry at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Throughout her undergraduate research, she studied the physiological response of corals to reduced seawater pH. She assists the Castillo lab with implementation of research, safety training, and proper lab equipment handling, and is also in charge of running and maintaining the Aquarium Research Center (ARC).

Contact info: Colleen Bove

Email: colbrynn@email.unc.edu

Jessica Boulton, Undergraduate Researcher

Jess is a sophomore undergraduate at UNC Chapel Hill, and she is pursuing a Biology major with a  Marine Sciences minor. She joined the Castillo Lab in the Spring of 2014, and is returning after a semester at the Institute of Marine Sciences in Morehead City NC. Jess was involved with the maintenance and function of the Aquarium Research Center, as well as with a project investigating the effects of temperature and feeding regimes on Oculina arbuscula. Jess is responsible for updates to the Castillo lab website, and will be assisting Kathryn Cobb and Sarah Davies this semester.


Kathryn Cobleigh, Undergraduate Researcher

Kathryn  is a senior pursuing an Environmental Science Major and Marine Science minor. She has worked in the Castillo Lab as an undergraduate researcher since Fall 2012. She has been involved with the Castillo Lab's ongoing coral coring project, focusing mostly on quantifying skeletal density and extension and calcification rates rates of forereef, backreef, and nearshore corals. Currently, she is beginning her senior project quantifying differences in the skeletal structure for corals exposed to a range of temperature and pCO2 treatments.

Alyssa Knowlton
, Undergraduate Researcher

Alyssa is a sophomore Biology major and Marine Sciences minor.  She started working in Castillo Lab Spring of 2015 volunteering as an undergraduate researcher.  Currently she is doing various things around the lab such as helping out with quantifying the surface area of corals.  As the semester continues she will begin to help with the project of extracting DNA from the corals.  Diver, probably internship with sea turtles, maybe planning grad school in marine science.

James Paige
, Undergraduate Researcher

James is a senior pursuing a major in Anthropology and a minor in Marine Sciences. He came to UNC-Chapel Hill as a transfer student from Wake Technical Community College with an Associate Degree in Science. He just started working in the Castillo lab this spring semester and is eager to learn from the opportunity of working as an undergraduate researcher.

Lauren Speare,
Undergraduate Researcher

Lauren is a junior pursuing an Environmental Science Major, a Marine Science Minor, and a Biology Minor. She joined the Castillo Lab in Spring 2015. Currently she is involved in analyzing video transects of the lab’s recent trip to Belize, as well as various other projects in the lab.


Joseph Townsend
, Undergraduate Researcher

Joe is a junior Biology and Communications major with a Marine Science minor. He joined the Castillo lab in the Summer of 2014, and has been involved in data collection and analysis for an experiment on how temperate coral stress response changes under different feeding regimes. Currently, he is quantifying surface area in order to better understand the bleaching response of these corals. He is also involved in various other projects around the lab and assist with general maintenance of our Aquarium Research Center and with video documentation of various experiments.

Former Members of the Castillo Lab
Pualani Armstrong 
Carissa Campbell     
Travis Courtney Elaine Chow
Risa Dalsing    Blake Elder
Ashley Fogel    
Daphne De Leener
Jamie Matos Netti McMiller
Kruti Patel Deepti Schroff
Kirsten Spencer Rafaela Vendrametto Granzotti
Richard Yost II  

© 2014 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill   
Maintained by K. D. Castillo
   Last Updated - September 2014