Principal Investigator

Dr. Marie Strader (she/her)

B.Sc University of Oregon (2010)
Ph.D. the University of Texas at Austin (2012-2017)
Postdoctoral Researcher, University of California Santa Barbara (2017-2019)
Research Assistant Professor, Auburn University (2019-2022)
Assistant Professor, Texas A&M University (2022-present)

I am a marine molecular ecologist interested in mechanisms of organismal responses to the environment. I investigate how marine invertebrates respond to predicted changes in ocean environments from the level of genes to populations in an evolutionary ecology context. The overarching theme of my research program is to investigate how our changing climate influences ecological and evolutionary responses of marine invertebrates.

Post-doctoral Fellows

Amy Tan, Ph.D

B.S. Walla Walla University (2013)
M.S. Walla Walla University (2015)
Ph.D. Texas A&M University (2022)
Amy is a developmental and molecular biologist who is excited to be returning to the undersea realm and echinoderm biology. She completed her PhD in Biology at Texas A&M University (in 2022) studying the development of the zebrafish inner ear, focusing on how Fgf, Wnt, and Hh are coordinated and cooperate to pattern the sensory and neural regions of the inner ear. Prior to that, she studied sea cucumber (Parastichopus californicus) visceral regeneration as a Masters student at Walla Walla University and, as an undergrad, worked on projects related to the impact of sea cucumbers in tropical coral reef environments.

Ph.D. Students

Mikayla Clark

Mikayla is a PhD student in the Biology program. She received her B.Sc. in Microbiology from the University of Tennessee and her M.Sc. in Marine Microbiology from the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology. She has an eclectic research history ranging from cytokinesis and bioinformatics to plant biotechnology and algal bloom dynamics. She is interested in exploring the molecular mechanisms behind Cassiopea phenotypic plasticity. Outside of the lab, she is a dog mom, scuba diver, and crafter. 

Stephanie Hendricks

B.Sc. Texas A&M University (2021)
Stephanie is an incoming PhD student (2022) interested in coral biology and conservation. She received her B.S. in Marine Biology from Texas A&M University at Galveston in 2021. Her past research focused on the down-regulated genes in the immortal jellyfish (Turritopsis dohrnii) using transcriptomics and bioinformatics. Some of Stephanie’s hobbies include traveling, photography, and collecting rocks.

Myles Wagner

Myles is a 1st year PhD student in the EEB interdisciplinary program. He is interested in cnidarian symbiosis, particularly its relation to bleaching and thermal tolerance. Myles received a bachelors degree in Marine Biology and Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Rhode Island where he studied speciation in Brevolium symbionts using transcriptomicsFollowing his undergraduate degree he spent time working in the Coral Reproduction Lab at Mote Marine Lab in the Florida Keys. Outside of his academic pursuits Myles is an avid Scuba diver and underwater photographer, and also enjoys playing ultimate frisbee.


Ziyu (Tobi) Wang

B. Sc. Texas A&M University (2023)
Ziyu (Tobi) is a senior zoology student at Texas A&M University, passionate about the evolution, systematics, and physiology of marine invertebrates. Specifically, he is fascinated by the evolutionary epigenetics of the genus Cassiopia. Currently, Ziyu works at the Biodiversity Research and Teaching Collection at Texas A&M University, where he manages all aspects of the natural history collection. His ultimate goal is to become a curator at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. To gain more experience in the field of marine biology, Ziyu will be assisting the Strader lab team in their work with the genus Cassipoeia, and invertebrate husbandry.

Previous Lab Members

Sarah Leinbach

M.Sc. Auburn University (2022)
B.Sc. University of Maryland, College Park (2019)
Sarah graduated from the Strader Lab (Auburn University) in May 2022 with a M.Sc. in Biology. Sarah’s thesis focused on understanding intraspecific variation in coral reproductive output and symbiont community structure following a thermal bleaching event in the reef-building coral Acropora hyacinthus. Sarah currently works as a restoration technician at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.