Dr. Heather Judkins, PhD

Dr. Heather Judkins is an assistant professor in the Department of Biology at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. She received a Bachelors degree in Marine Affairs from the University of Rhode Island, Masters degree in Science Education from Nova Southeastern University and her PhD in Biological Oceanography from the University of South Florida. Her research focuses on understanding the evolution, ecology, and biogeography of cephalopods with a main focus currently in the Wider Caribbean.

Heather Judkins, Ph.D., Curriculum Vitae

Kris Clark,
Graduate Student 
and Research Assistant

Kris Clark is a graduate student at USF’s College of Marine Science and DEEPEND research assistant in Dr. Heather Judkins’ lab. She plans to obtain her Master’s Degree in Biological Oceanography. Her master’s thesis is focused on pelagic marine heteropoda vertical distribution and eye diameter size correlations in the water column and examining population genetics. As a research assistant to Dr. Heather Judkins at USFSP, her role focuses on the genomic and morphological identification of various cephalopoda. Kris is a life long ocean enthusiast which compliments her work with DEEPEND and her educational pursuits.

Kate Lowry,
Graduate Student

Kate Lowry is a Master’s student of Conservation Biology at the University of South Florida Saint Petersburg. She is working with Dr. Judkins and the Florida Aquarium on sea turtle behavior in captivity for her thesis research. This research will compare several factors of the turtles’ environment and health in order to make conclusions about how turtle behavior varies. Her Bachelor’s degree is in Marine Biology and Conservation Biology/Ecology from Bowling Green State University in Ohio.

Tiffany Nicholson,
Graduate Student

Hello, my name is Tiffany Nicholson. Recently I just graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg in the Honors Program with a major in Biology, a minor in Environmental science, and a concentration in Marine biology. I am now a Master’s student at the same University studying conservation biology with my research being focused on marine biology and toxicology. Since I was a young girl I have always lived on the water, which has helped gain my passion for marine biology. With my master’s research I hope to understand more about the affects of oil pollution on red snappers in the Gulf of Mexico.

Aubrey Hetzler,
Graduate Student

I am a 2014 graduate of Penn State University where I completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science with a minor in Marine Science.  Prior to graduating I spent 6 months with The University of Southampton,UK, taking classes in Marine Biology and Oceanography at The National Oceanography Center. At USFSP I am part of the first group of Conservation Biology graduate students. My Master’s research will focus on the conservation of Dendrogyra cylindrus (Pillar Coral) through a microbial community assessment and growth study.

Sarah Shedler,
Graduate Student

Sarah Shedler is a Master’s student at USF’s College of Marine Science. She is working with Dr. Heather Judkins on pteropods. Her master’s thesis is focused on their identification, distribution and abundance in the Gulf of Mexico. Sarah received her Bachelor’s of Science, with a marine biology concentration from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg.

Brenna Meath, M.S.

Hello! My name is Brenna and I am from Queensbury, New York.   I grew up in the Adirondack Mountains near Lake George so I have always been passionate about nature and the environment.  At a young age my family brought me on trips to the Caribbean where I first started snorkeling.  I knew from then on that I wanted to be a marine biologist!  I came to Florida in 2010 to get my bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology from the University of Tampa.  Since graduating in 2014 I interned at MOTE Marine Lab conducting coral reef research and at NOAA conducting shark research.  My master’s thesis in biological oceanography conducted research on squid eye lenses from the Gulf of Mexico to determine spawning and migratory patterns.

Amanda Sosnowski, M.S.

My research interests focused on marine invertebrate biodiversity and population connectivity. For my Master’s research I worked with Dr. Heather Judkins and Dr. Mya Breitbart on a comparative genetics study of deep-sea cephalopods in the Gulf of Mexico.  Dr. Judkins conducts research in cephalopod systematics, abundance, and diversity in the Gulf of Mexico, while Dr. Breitbart uses molecular techniques to assess marine biodiversity, respectively. I interacted closely with both faculty members to examine intraspecies variation and population connectivity, as well as link taxonomic diagnoses with DNA barcodes. By studying the gene pool and genetic exchange of deep-sea cephalopods, my research will lend a fuller picture to the amount of gene flow amongst cephalopod species in the Gulf of Mexico.