People

Principle Investigator

amberbio2Dr. Amber Pitt

Amber is an Assistant Professor of Conservation Ecology in the Environmental Science Program and Department of Biology at Trinity College. She received her Ph.D. and M.S. in Interdisciplinary Ecology from the University of Florida, and her B.A. in Zoology from the University of Vermont. She served as a Post-doctoral Research Fellow at Clemson University, where she designed and coordinated various projects including assessment of isolated wetlands in the Piedmont and Blue Ridge ecoregions of South Carolina, and effects of forest management practices and prescribed fire on American Toads.

Her conservation-driven research focuses on amphibians, reptiles, and aquatic ecosystems, and explores the connections between wildlife population changes, human activity, and environmental change. For example, she examined changes in river turtle assemblages and populations that occurred in conjunction with turtle harvesting, land use-land cover change, and water quality degradation in the Missouri Ozarks. Over the past 15 years, she has evaluated multiple aspects of hellbender salamander ecology, with her most recent research focusing on the effects of land use-land cover change and water quality degradation on hellbender habitat and population persistence in the Susquehanna River drainage in Pennsylvania.

 

Current Students

 Senior Honors Thesis Students

 

Hazel Robertson

Hazel is pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Biology with a Latin minor from Trinity College. For her Biology Honors Thesis research, she is investigating mercury in urban pond flora and fauna. She also has experience conducting entomological research and studied abroad in Cape Town, South Africa, where she examined marine biology and global change ecology. Hazel anticipates graduating in May 2019.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shane McLaughlin

Shane is pursuing his Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science with a minor in French Language at Trinity College. For his Environmental Science Honors Thesis research, he is investigating mercury accumulation and distribution in urban pond sediment. He also has experience conducting mammal population and behavior surveys in Northern Tanzania while studying abroad with The School for Field Studies’ Wildlife Management program. In addition, he assisted Professor Pitt with an eastern hellbender monitoring project in the Susquehanna River drainage of Pennsylvania. Shane anticipates graduating in May 2019.

 

 

 

 

 

Independent Research Students (Students completing research prior to their senior year)


Joe Ruggiero

Joe is pursuing his Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science with a minor in History at Trinity College. He researched heavy metal concentrations in stream sediment with fellow researcher, Shane McLaughlin. Joe has also worked with the Connecticut Coalition Against Crumbling Basements and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection on the science and policy behind pyrrhotite contaminated structures. For his Environmental Science Honors Thesis research, he is investigating mercury accumulation and distribution at high elevation in the White Mountain National Forest with Dr. Jon Gourley. Joe anticipates graduating in May 2019, and will be pursuing his Juris Doctorate next fall with a concentration in environmental law.

 

 

 

Anna Maria (Bobbie) Imwalle

Bobbie (left) joined the Pitt Lab her freshman year at Trinity College, participating in urban pond research in which she investigated ecotoxicology. She plans on continuing research that blends her interests in biochemistry, human health, and freshwater ecology. Bobbie anticipates graduating in May 2020.

Brendan Lynch

Brendan (right) conducted research on urban pond ecology in the Pitt Lab in summer 2017 as part of the Interdisciplinary Science Program at Trinity College. He  plans on continuing research that blends his interests in computer science and biology. Brendan anticipates graduating in May 2020.

 

 

Colbie Cook

Colbie (right) is pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science at Trinity College. She conducted research on urban pond ecology as an independent student researcher her sophomore year. Colbie anticipates graduating in May 2019.

 

 

 

 

 


Torrey Hill

Torrey (left) is pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Biology at Trinity College. She conducted research on urban pond ecotoxicology as an independent student researcher her sophomore year. Torrey anticipates graduating in May 2019.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pitt Lab Alumni

Undergraduate Senior Honors Thesis Students

Bailey D'Antonio

 

Bailey D’Antonio

Bailey graduated Summa Cum Laude from Trinity College in May 2018. She earned a B.S. with Honors in Biology with a Biocultural Approaches to Human Health minor. For her Biology Honors Thesis research, she investigated the influence of microhabitat characteristics on tick abundance in Japanese barberry infested forests. She is continuing her education at the University of New England’s Physician Assistant program.

 

 

 

Lupita Barajas

 

Guadalupe (Lupita) Barajas

Lupita graduated with Honors in May 2017 with her B.S. in Environmental Science and French Studies from Trinity College. For her Environmental Science Honors Thesis research, she evaluated accumulation of heavy metals in urban ponds. Lupita is now an Americorps Discovery Fellow at the Ocean Discovery Institute in San Diego, CA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Graduate Students

Sean_Terrapin

 

Sean M. Hartzell

Sean earned his M.S. in Biology from Bloomsburg University in August 2017. For his graduate research, Sean evaluated interactions between eastern hellbenders (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis alleganiensis) and introduced rusty crayfish (Orconectes rusticus) in the greater Susquehanna River drainage of Pennsylvania. Sean is now employed by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jamie Shinskie and hellbender

 

Jamie Shinskie

Jamie earned her M.S. in Biology from Bloomsburg University in December 2016. Jamie’s award-winning graduate research focused on the impacts of land use and land cover change on eastern hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis alleganiensis) distribution and habitat in the Susquehanna River drainage of Pennsylvania. Jamie is now employed by the National Park Service in Virginia.