Morgan Kelly, PI

phone: 225.578.0224 | office: LSA 309 | lab: LSA 325/327
My research is driven by questions that integrate many areas of biology, from ecology to genetics to physiology and evolution. One of the most basic goals of ecology is to understand the distribution and abundance of organisms. Are species's distributions set by their tolerance of abiotic stressors? And, if so, what are the evolutionary limits to increased tolerance? I use selection experiments and next-generation sequencing to identify the genetic basis adaptation to the abiotic environment and to understand the mechanistic overlap between plastic and evolved responses to stress. (full cv)

Kevin Johnson, NSF Postdoctoral Fellow

My research focuses on describing the epigenomic variations between populations of the eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) along a natural salinity gradient in the Gulf of Mexico. This work utilizes epigenomic sequencing to characterize population-specific DNA methylation patterns from both parental populations (F0) and common-garden reared second-generation offspring (F2). This work leverages the emerging field of epigenomics with classic metrics for oyster health (i.e. digestion rate and growth rate) across multiple generations to explore the role DNA methylation plays in oyster salinity tolerance and local adaptation.

Joanna Griffiths, PhD student

I am interested in marine species that have adapted to past climate change and may do so in the future. As a phD student in the Kelly lab, my research focuses on identifying plasticity in coral Balanophyllia elegans populations along the West coast. I will be using genetic and modeling data to identify refugia during the last interglacial period that may also serve as future refugia. My research will also incorporate climatic data extracted from fossilized corals. website

Hollis Jones, Masters student

As a graduate student my research focuses on improving the resiliency of coastal marine ecosystems by understanding the ecological consequences of environmental change. Using a combination of genetic and physiological approaches I am exploring the energetic tradeoffs of combined temperature and salinity stress in the ecologically and economically important oyster, Crassostrea virginica. Working with a cultural icon such as the eastern oyster has inspired me to reach out to the local community about exciting oyster research at LSU. As I continue my career, I am interested in applying my skills as a scientific researcher to implement science-based coastal management.

Kyle Sirovy, PhD student

My passion is life-long learning and integrating that knowledge to solve evolutionary questions in marine systems. The objective of my research is to better understand and predict how the eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica, will respond to salinity and temperature changes within the northern Gulf of Mexico. This research utilizes next-generation sequencing and multi-stressor physiology experiments to study the intraspecific variation within C. virginica to assess the potential for varied stress responses across populations.

Undergraduate Students

Clockwise from left to right: Vidal Villela, Angela Yoon, Hope Roberts, Colleen Cecola, Soray Castro, Elle Foster, Daniel Liu. Not pictured: William Murdock, Cassidy Woolie, and Carey Laiche.

Megan Guidry

My name is Megan, and I am from outside of New Orleans. I am interested in coastal microbial ecology and the microbiomes of economically important species in coastal Louisiana. I plan on completing my honors thesis in Kelly Lab..

Michelle Gautreaux

I am a fourth year undergraduate majoring in biochemistry. I enjoy travelling and camping in my free time. In the Kelly Lab, I work with the eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica and the gulf killifish, Fundulus grandis.

Devin Comba

I’m a senior majoring in Coastal Environmental Science and minoring in Biological Science. I love all marine critters, but oysters are definitely the coolest, which is why they are the subject organism of my Honors thesis.

Jena Bordelon

I am a sophomore majoring in Biology. I work on DNA and RNA extractions in the lab and am always prepared to learn new ways to study science! I enjoy reading and playing with my dogs. I'm thrilled to be a part of the Kelly Lab and to continue my education in Biology!

Annie Schwartz

I am a junior majoring in Biological Sciences with a minor in Animal Sciences and Technologies. I enjoy hunting, fishing, and playing with friends in my free time. Currently I am working with oysters and crabs in the Kelly lab and plan on completing an Honors Thesis.

Too busy doing science to submit a picture:

Yasmeen Kawji, Mark Yeats


Melissa DeBiasse, Postdoc

As an evolutionary ecologist I am interested in the processes that generate biodiversity in the ocean. My research examines the distribution of genetic and phenotypic variation within and among populations in marine invertebrates. In Mike Hellberg’s lab at LSU my dissertation research used model-based methods to test hypotheses of historical demography and species boundaries in the Caribbean coral reef sponge Callyspongia. As a postdoc in the Kelly Lab, my work focused on the genomic and phenotypic responses of marine invertebrate (sponges, corals, and copepods) to environmental stressors using experimental and next generation sequencing approaches. website .]

Vidal Villela

Currently attending LSU New Orleans Medical School

Angela Yoon

Currently attending LSU
Vet School.

Jessica Miglicco

Currently attending LSU New Orleans Medical School

Elle Foster

Currently attending LSU New Orleans Medical School

Colleen Cecola

Currently attending LSU New Orleans Medical School