Our Team

Noah Singer

Noah is a first-year masters student at Boston University in the Biology Program. He majored in Marine Science and Biology at The University of Miami RSMAS. He is working on an eelgrass restoration in Nantucket Harbor with Dr. Alyssa Novak, restoring two half-acre sites by transplanting vegetative Eelgrass and planting over 250,000 eelgrass seeds. Additionally, he will research bay scallop recruitment into newly restored eelgrass environments and predation on bay scallops. He loves to go SCUBA diving, hiking, and other outdoor activities when he is not cheering on the New Jersey Devils or Boston Red Sox.

Kimberly Candelario

Kimberly is a senior at Boston University in the BA/MA Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Biotechnology program. She will complete her Master’s thesis with the Novak Lab, studying bacterial communities in seagrass sediment. She is from Southern California and grew up with easy access to amazing aquariums and whale watching. She has a passion for all things marine and is also a member of the Davies Lab at BU where she has assisted in researching the connectivity and thermal tolerance of Astrangia Poculata coral along the east coast. Her background in biochemistry has given her the opportunity to learn many different lab techniques that she has been able to apply to her research. She is new to seagrass research but is excited to apply her lab skills and learn about a new topic. Kimberly is especially looking forward to gaining her first fieldwork experience while at the Novak Lab.


Cecelia (Cece) Gerstenbacher

Cece is a senior at Boston University, where she is getting a duel BA/MS in Biology, specializing in Ecology and Conservation Biology, with a minor in Marine Science. She grew up near large expanses of estuarine environment on the coast of New Jersey, and has always been immersed in nature, particularly the intertidal.  She is passionate about conservation and the communication interface between science and the public. Following her passions, Cecelia has interned for Greenpeace Australia-Pacific, where she traveled around Australia as a logistics coordinator and scientific communicator for the country wide outreach program: Breakfree. She is also involved in photomosaic analysis, looking at coral distribution over time in the Phoenix Islands Protected Area. Recently, she has begun research on microplastic’s density and distribution in temperate eelgrass communities. She intends to expand on this work for her Master’s thesis. When she is not doing science, she is almost always running as a short sprinter on the Division 1 Boston University Track and Field team.

Nikki Sarrette

Nikki has a Bachelor of Science from the University of New Hampshire. She is interested in marine conservation and ecosystem health. Nikki has been working with seagrass ecology since 2006, under Dr. Fred Short. She has been involved in many projects; including assisting with graduate research experiments, long term ecosystem monitoring after dredging, restoration efforts, and maintaining data integrity on global seagrass monitoring database, SeagrassNet.org.  She also works full time as a QA Compliance Specialist at Lonza Biologics. In her free time, Nikki likes to kayak, garden, and hike with her husband, Jon and dog, Houston.


Ryen Guthrie

Ryen is a senior at Boston University, where she is pursuing a major in marine science and a minor in computer science. She is interested in marine ecology and conservation. Even though Ryen grew up in Oklahoma, she became interested in marine life at a young age and grew passionate about conservation and restoration when obtaining her scuba certification. This passion led her to the Novak Lab in order to help work on eelgrass restoration. Ryen is currently researching the role of local hydrodynamics in microplastic accumulation and if there is a seasonal difference in accumulation. She is also involved in annotating deep sea excursion videos, identifying coral and sponge species. In her free time Ryen skates for the Boston University Figure Skating Team. 

Ved Ahuja

Ved Ahuja is a junior at Boston University, where he is pursuing a major in biology and a minor in marine science. He is also fulfilling pre-medical curriculum requirements. Ved become interested in marine ecology and conservation when he signed up with live blue™ Ambassadors – a teen volunteer program at the New England Aquarium. For four years, Ved participated in cleanup and restoration of Massachusetts State Reservations, marine animal and shorebird related fieldwork and research, advocacy, and public education. By way of these efforts, he not only fell deeply in love with his blue planet, but also recognized an essential need do his small part in preserving it. Currently, Ved is continuing his passion for marine life and habitat conservation as a live blue™ Service Corp at the New England Aquarium and as a team member of the Novak Lab at Boston University through his work on the invasive green crabs and eelgrass restoration.


Past SCA/AmeriCorps Researchers


2019-2021:  Hannah Ferraro, Nayantara Srinivasan

2017-2018: Julian Burlando-Salazar, Aryanna Volk, Grace Maddox

2016-2017: Lindsay Peter, Audrey Michniak, Molly Sullivan

2015-2016: Hali Macko, Charley Williford

2015-2017: Hanna Mogensen