Principal Investigator

Dr. Solomon R. David

An avid fan of “primitive fishes” and advocate for native fishes conservation, Solomon strives to effectively communicate science to both the research community and general public. He received his B.S. in Biology from Ohio Northern University, followed by an M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment. His graduate research focused on conservation ecology of Great Lakes fishes, including projects on Lake Trout, Chinook Salmon, and Spotted Gar. Solomon has also conducted postdoctoral research in fish ecology at Shedd Aquarium, U.S. Geological Survey, and Michigan State University. He now serves as assistant professor of biological sciences at Nicholls State University where he continues his research at #GarLab.

GRADUATE STUDENTS (M.S. in Marine & Environmental Biology)

Dinah Cador

Dinah was born and raised in Brusly, Louisiana, and received her B.S. in Biology with a minor in chemistry from Dillard University. During her undergraduate career, she assisted with whole-organism performance research focused on the thermal regulation of alligators with varying skin colors in response to environmental conditions. Dinah is an activist artist who has a passion for environmental science and science education. During her senior year of undergrad, Dinah had art pieces featured in two art shows in New Orleans, Louisiana in which she was able to purpose her art to promote environmental and social equity.
Follow Dinah and her research on Twitter @deejcador

Katherine (Kati) Wright

Kati is originally from Virginia and graduated from Virginia Tech in 2016 with a B.S. in Wildlife Conservation, as well as in Marine Fisheries Conservation. After her undergraduate degree, Kati went on to be a Northeast Fisheries Observer, deploying on a variety of commercial fishing vessels from trawls to gillnets. Since then, she has also worked with NOAA’s Shark Population Assessment Group, in addition to their Reef Fish Survey Group, and In-Sync Exotics Wildlife Rescue’s large cats. Her latest position was as a research technician, where she studied Gulf Sturgeon, Red Drum, Black Drum, and Sheepshead movement and ecology throughout Mississippi and the Mississippi Sound.
Follow Kati and her research on Twitter @Wrightfish.

Elizabeth Myers

Elizabeth is originally from Iowa and graduated from Frostburg State University in Maryland in 2020 with a B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries. During her undergraduate career she assisted with a variety of research projects including fish community surveys of small streams within the C&O Canal National Historical Park as well as studying the effects of road salt concentrations on Brook Trout egg survival. She also worked for a summer on Iowa’s Multiple Species Inventory and Monitoring Program. After graduation, Elizabeth worked for the Illinois Natural History Survey as an aquatic field technician at the Illinois River Biological Station conducting research on large river systems focusing on the Illinois and upper Mississippi Rivers. Elizabeth is co-supervised by Dr. Chris Bonvillain in the Aquatic Ecology and Astacology Lab.
Follow Elizabeth and her research on Twitter @elmyers20

Audrey Baetz

Audrey is originally from Michigan and graduated from Michigan State University in 2018 earning a B.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife with a concentration in Fisheries Biology and Management. Her undergraduate research focused on the diversification of sensory systems in Threespine Sticklebacks Gasterosteus aculeatus. In addition to her research in undergrad, Audrey spent a summer working for South Dakota Game, Fish, & Parks studying game fish populations and angler pressure. Since completing her undergraduate degree, Audrey has worked for the U.S. Geological Survey researching maintenance and restoration of constructed spawning reefs in the Great Lakes.
Follow Audrey and her research on Twitter @Fish_Baetz


Derek Sallmann

THESIS: Life history and trophic ecology of gars (Lepisosteidae) in two Mississippi River floodplains with comparisons to other Louisiana populations

Derek Sallmann was born in Waukesha, Wisconsin, and graduated from Wisconsin Lutheran College with a B.S. in Biology (Ecology). He worked on a variety of projects with his mentor Dr. Bob Anderson, including scuba diving coral reef research in Grenada, a dam removal study on the Middle Bark River, nutrient analysis on Beaver Lake, a fish passage study on the Menomonee River, and many electrofishing surveys. His senior research project involved compiling a paper on “Population Trends of Northern Sunfish in the Lower Mukwonago River” which he presented at the Wisconsin chapter of the American Fisheries Society in 2016. Since his graduation he has worked as “Outreach and Engagement Coordinator” with the “Friends of the Mukwonago River” as well as “Water Resource Management Specialist” for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Derek also co-hosts two educational YouTube series (one about birds and one about fish) called Badgerland Birding and Badgerland Fishes. Derek’s current research includes floodplain restoration using gar as an indicator species and his interests include conservation science, ancient fishes, science communication, and more. Derek successfully completed his thesis in Summer 2022.
Follow Derek and his research on twitter @SallmannC.

KristieRae Ellis

THESIS: Trophic ecology of gars (Lepisosteidae) in a Mississippi River floodplain

KristieRae is originally from Wisconsin and graduated from Carthage College with a B.A. in Environmental Science. Her undergraduate thesis research focused on the impacts of urbanization on Northern Leopard Frogs Lithobates pipiens. Since completing her undergraduate degree, KristieRae has worked on several restoration and monitoring projects throughout the Midwest and Virginia. Her passion for restoration has led to many different opportunities, including adult and larval fish surveys, prescribed burns, and river building. KristieRae’s current research is focused on understanding fish assemblages within a newly restored coastal marsh habitat in southeastern Louisiana. KristieRae successfully completed her thesis in Summer 2021.
Follow KristieRae and her research on Twitter @KristieREllis

FONTANA - Profile Pic

Sarah Fontana

THESIS: Growth and development of the Spotted Gar Lepisosteus oculatus spawned out of season

Sarah was born and raised in Raceland, Louisiana, and received her B.S. in biology (marine biology concentration) from Nicholls State University (2018). Her undergraduate thesis research investigated the ability of invasive Apple Snails Pomacea maculata to host the parasitic Rat Lungworm Angiostrongylus cantonensis. While she enjoyed studying invertebrates, her current research involves studying the spawning and early life history of the Spotted Gar Lepisosteus oculatus in Louisiana. Sarah successfully completed her thesis in Spring 2020.
Follow Sarah and her research on Twitter @SarahFontana814


Anthea (Thea) Fredrickson

THESIS: Comparing trophic ecology and life history in the development of a stable isotope model based on non-lethal sampling for Spotted Gar Lepisosteus oculatus and Alligator Gar Atractosteus spatula

Thea is originally from California and graduated from the University of California Santa Cruz with a B.S. in Marine Biology (2015). Her undergraduate thesis focused on understanding the difference in isotope concentrations between populations of stranded California Sea Lions Zalophus californianus. Since completing her undergraduate degree, Thea has worked and traveled all over the world studying a variety of creatures from tiny guppies in Trinidad, to massive Whale Sharks Rhincodon typus in Mexico. Her current research focuses on trophic ecology of the Spotted Gar Lepisosteus oculatus in the bayou and coastal regions of Louisiana. Thea successfully completed her thesis in Spring 2020.
Follow Thea and her research on Twitter @Atfredri

Undergraduate Alumni
Ridge Arceneaux
Aimee Bertrand
Ross Candies
Katelynn Starkey

GARLAB - WEB - People - Profile - Gleason

Kaylee Gleason (Undergraduate Alum)

Kaylee is from Denham Springs, Louisiana, and graduating with her bachelor of science in biology with a concentration in marine biology. She wants to continue doing research on Bowfin or other predatory fishes. Follow Kaylee on Twitter @KayleeEGleason