MAISRC Graduate Fellows

Matthew Barbour


Matthew Barbour works on the development of dreissenid mussel control and management tools including identification of candidate toxicants, application techniques and procedures, and non-target impacts. He also works with the Invasive Mussel Collaborative to develop and recommend standardized toxicant testing protocols for inter- and intra- laboratory comparisons of results. Matt is concurrently pursuing a M.S. in Biology with Aquatic Science emphasis at the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse, anticipating to graduate in 2021. His thesis research developed GIS-based, remote-assessment tool for the rapid estimation of organic carbon stocks and burial rates in freshwater impoundment sediments. His personal hobbies are fishing, hunting, and just about anything outdoors when he is not chasing around his three small children.
naomi  Naomi Blinick is a Graduate Student in the Conservation Sciences program at the University of Minnesota, in the Fisheries and Aquatic Biology track. She has a B.S. in marine studies from Prescott College in Arizona, and has spent a decade working as a field biologist in various marine, coastal, island, and freshwater ecosystems. She is now investigating the effects of zebra mussels on the success of walleye in Minnesota lakes as a member of Dr. Gretchen Hansen’s lab.




Rafael Contreras-Rangel is a Master's Student in the Conservation Science with a focus on Fisheries and Aquatic Biology. He graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in biology and a concentration in environmental studies. After graduating, he became interested in invasive species while doing restoration work for the Natural Area Preservation Division of the City of Ann Arbor. Having been a swimmer his whole life, he moved to Minnesota with the hope of transitioning from doing conservation work in a terrestrial system to an aquatic one. While working as an Aquatic Invasive Species Specialist for the Conservation Corps of Minnesota & Iowa, he became interested in starry stonewort ecology and management. His research focus will be studying the efficacy of chemical control on starry stonewort in a lab setting.

megan corum


Megan Corum is a Master's Student in the Water Resources Science program at the University of Minnesota Duluth. She graduated with a B.A. in biology and English from Lawrence University in Appleton, WI. Her work focuses on spiny water fleas. 

Jackie Culotta


Jackie Culotta a Master's Student in Dr. Allen Mensinger's lab. Jackie focuses on ways to control bigheaded carp range expansion. By classically conditioning carp to associate broadband sound with carbon dioxide, researchers hope to prolong their aversion to sound deterrents alone. This may make non-physical barrier technology for these species more effective while also cutting down on carbon dioxide use. When they are not working with fish, Jackie likes to bike, canoe, and cross country ski. 



Angelique Dahlberg is a Graduate Student in Dr. Nick Phelps' lab working towards a Ph.D. in Conservation Sciences. She received in M.S. in Integrated BioSciences from the University of Minnesota Duluth and a B.S. in Biological Aspects of Conservation from the University of Wisconsin Madison. Angelique also spent five years working for regional non-profits to manage and mitigate the impacts of invasive species. Angelique's current research investigates suppression methods for controlling zebra mussel populations in Minnesota lakes.

holly kundel


Holly Kundel is a Master's Student in the Conservation Sciences program studying Fisheries and Aquatic Biology at the University of Minnesota. Holly has a B.S. in Biology with minors in Environmental Studies and Mathematics from Augsburg University and is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. Although Holly used to do lots of her work in wetlands without fish, she is now working with Dr. Gretchen Hansen and using historic fish survey and water quality data from the Minnesota DNR to try to understand how zebra mussel invasions in Minnesotan lakes influence walleye recruitment and water quality characteristics using a modeling approach.



Meg McEachran is a Ph.D. student in the Phelps lab studying the release of live bait by anglers as a potential pathway for the spread of invasive species. She's interested in taking an interdisciplinary approach to AIS issues drawing from disease ecology, conservation biology, and the social sciences.



Jacob Olson is working toward earning a M.S. in Water Resources Science at the University of Minnesota Saint Paul campus.  He is researching invasive macrophytes (Potamogeton crispus and Myriophyllum spicatum) in lakes throughout Minnesota and investigating methods to restore native macrophyte communities and define restoration endpoints.

Christopher Rounds


Christopher Rounds working toward his M.S. in Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology at the Univeristy of Minnesota. Chris is member of the Hansen Lab and is currently helping with an eDNA project. The project seeks to optimize the detection of invasive species using environmental DNA and understand how detection rates of invasive species change seasonally, spatially and during different life history periods. With this project, Chris would love to help agencies develop best practices for using eDNA to detect and sample invasive species. During his free time, Chris enjoys spending time in the great outdoors, reading, and eating the best pizza in Minnesota!



Kasey Rundquist is a Graduate Student working towards an M.S. in Water Resources Science. She completed her B.S. in Biology at Northern State University in Aberdeen, SD.  



Isaiah E. Tolo is a Graduate Student in Dr. Phelps' lab working towards his PhD in Fisheries and Aquatic Biology. He received a B.S. in Biological Sciences from Belhaven University and an M.S. in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi. His work will focus on exploring the utility of native viruses in the control of invasive carp species.


Mike Verhoeven is a Graduate Student working towards a Ph.D. in Conservation Science with a focus on Fisheries and Aquatic Biology. His research focuses on ecology and management of aquatic invasive plants. The focus of his current project is evaluating the factors that influence reproduction and colonization in submerged plant communities following management actions. His work utilizes observational datasets collected during herbicide-based aquatic plant management in the state of Minnesota.