I began my research in aquatic ecology as an intern in the lab of Dr. Alan Christian as part of an REU at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. As part of this project, I conducted research comparing the physical, chemical, and biological effects of different methods of stream restoration on in-stream conditions. After graduating Norfolk State University with a BS in Biology in 2013, I worked as a Restoration Ecology apprentice at The Wilds Conservation Center in Cumberland, OH, under the direction of Shana Byrd. Through this apprenticeship, I designed an experiment seeking to understand the in-stream impacts of mechanical riparian invasive plant removal in urbanizing environments. In 2015, I began working as an hourly researcher in the Aquatic Ecology Lab at the Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center under the direction of Dr. Paul McCormick. While in the McCormick Lab, I conducted routine chemical and biological sampling of the Ichauway-Notchaway Watershed to estimate the effects of human-induced low flows on rivers and streams. I also worked in the laboratories of Dr. Steve Golladay and Dr. Steven Brantly, investigating the ecological and hydrological conditions of the lower Flint River Basin and the physiological characteristics of longleaf pine.
After receiving my BS from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, I worked as a biologist for the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources and as a technician in Dr. Alonso Ramirez’slaboratory at the University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras Campus. There, I carried out various research projects in both urban and forested streams, mainly monitoring aquatic insect assemblages and water physicochemistry. Some of the findings from these projects have been published in Urban Ecosystems and Ecology and Society.
I received a MS from Georgia Southern University, where I studied the assemblage structure, production, and food web dynamics of macroinvertebrates in tropical headwater streams in the lab of Dr. Checo Colón-Gaud. For my doctoral career and beyond I will focus on the importance of the processes occurring in urban and agriculturally impacted aquatic systems and how they affect those who depend on the ecosystem services they provide.
My graduate research in the Capps Lab will focus on examining the effects wastewater effluent on the structure and function of aquatic macroinvertebrate and microbial communities in urban watersheds in Georgia. This research will be carried out through both the Odum School of Ecology and the program in Integrative Conservation (ICON) at the University of Georgia.
I will integrate how these alterations are impacting human populations. Additionally, I am particularly interested on mentoring undergraduate researchers, especially those from underrepresented groups, in order to promote their participation in freshwater research. I am an active supporter of the Instars program of the Society of Freshwater Science.
I received my BS and MS in Biology from John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio under the mentorship of Dr. Carl Anthony and Dr. Cari Hickerson. My master’s thesis research focused on the impacts of invasive Asian earthworms on the microhabitat use, foraging, and abundance of red-backed salamanders. Manuscripts based on this work were published in theCanadian Journal of Zoology and PLOS ONE. During my graduate study, I was awarded a grant from the Geauga Park District to conduct surveys for Invasive Asian earthworms and identify their ecological impacts within park properties.
I have broad interests in the ecology, behavior, and conservation of herpetofauna. I intend for my PhD work at UGA to broadly address how stressors, such as disease and climate change, interact to influence amphibian communities.
I am collaborating with Dr. Stacey Lance andDavid Scott at the Savannah River Ecology Lab to investigate these questions. Additionally, I am participating in the inaugural course of theUGA GS LEAD program, designed to foster skills in leadership, interdisciplinary collaboration, and community engagement among STEM doctoral students.