Chelsie Counsell


I am now a postdoctoral research fellow in the Donahue lab!

I joined the Donahue lab in 2013 as a Marine Biology Ph.D. student. Broadly, my research interests are in the ecology and spatial dynamics of marine communities with a focus on reef fish, their predators and prey. I recently earned my Masters of Science in Ecology and Evolution from Florida State University where I was advised by Felicia Coleman and Kevin Craig. My Master’s thesis investigated how the effects of areas of low oxygen in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico propagate up through the food web to higher trophic levels. While at Florida State University, I was also involved in other research projects including tropical reef assessments, goliath grouper projects, and trawl and benthic surveys of the Gulf of Mexico. I was also a science instructor with a middle school outreach program called Saturday at the Sea where we brought groups of students to the marine lab and into the field for the day.

Before I began my graduate studies, I worked in South Caicos with the School for Field Studies as a research intern. There I assisted with studies of the natural markings on Nassau grouper, juvenile habitat enhancement for spiny lobster, lionfish diet, and an assessment of artificial reef habitat. I also worked at the Newfound Harbor Marine Institute Chelsie2in the Florida Keys as a Science Instructor leading snorkel and kayak trips in addition to marine based lab projects.

I received my Bachelors of Science degree from Elon University where I majored in Biology and minored in Chemistry. As part of my degree, I completed a honors thesis focused on Nassau grouper in the Turks and Caicos Islands. This work included a survey of the grouper population around Long Cay, an assessment a juvenile habitat enhancement project, and a literature review of the biology of Nassau grouper. During my undergraduate career, I was able to be a part of sea turtle, lemon shark, and conch research projects. I also spent a summer at the University of California at Davis’s marine lab in Bodega Bay researching the impacts of climate change on an intertidal snail through a combination of field, lab, and historical analyses.