Maria on a cruise in the SAB

I grew up in South Portland, Maine, a small coastal northern New England town five minutes from the ocean. Although I always hated the smell of fish, got seasick on boats, and never liked to swim in the ocean (it was way too cold), I somehow fell in love with marine science. My first taste of oceanography was my high school marine biology class, after that I knew I wanted to study the ocean. For my bachelors degree I attended the University of Miami in Coral Gables Florida. I dreaded taking organic chemistry classes but ended up genuinely enjoying the puzzle-like nature of the problems, and this sparked my interest in marine organic chemistry studies.

I am now a PhD student in Dr. Patricia Medeiros’ marine organic geochemistry lab. I study dissolved organic matter, its transformations and bacterial interactions over time in coastal Georgia. Researching how dissolved organic matter changes in the marine environment is important because it gives us a more comprehensive understanding of the carbon cycle and its reactivity. The dissolved organic matter pool is constantly changing and is very complex; much is unknown about its molecular composition and structure.

When I’m not in the lab, I enjoy hiking, spending time with my friends, trying new foods and watching movies. I have two cats (Hades, an overweight black cat, and Persephone, a slender white cat) and a dog (Ajax, a cholate lab/pit bull mix) at home.