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.


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.

Amanda Sosnowski,
Graduate Student

As a Master’s student at the University of South Florida’s College of Marine Science, my research interests focus on marine invertebrate biodiversity and population connectivity. For my Master’s research I will be working 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 interact 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.

Brenna Meath,
Graduate Student

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.  I am currently working on my master’s thesis in biological oceanography conducting research on squid eye lenses from the Gulf of Mexico to determine spawning and migratory patterns.