Lab members

On board R/V Connecticut, September 2019. Photo by Daniel Hentz (WHOI).
Kirstin Meyer-Kaiser
Marine biologist 

Most of the ocean floor is blanketed by soft sediments, so hard-bottom habitats are usually isolated and island-like. Any solid object - be it a reef, a lone rock, or a shipwreck - will inevitably be colonized, and these substrata provide habitats for diverse and abundant communities of sponges, anemones, crabs, mussels, and fish. As a benthic ecologist, I study the colonization and connectivity of island-like hard-bottom habitats.

My research focuses on the early life-history stages of invertebrates, including larval dispersal and recruitment. The larval phase is the only opportunity for sessile organisms to spread to or colonize new environments, but larvae and new recruits suffer high mortality because of environmental stress and predation. I seek to understand how these restrictions affect the connectivity of populations and what factors might allow some larvae to disperse farther than others. I work at all depths from the intertidal to the deep sea and I have ongoing projects at polar, temperate, and tropical latitudes.

In order to collect samples and conduct experiments, I embark on frequent expeditions to the field. I use SCUBA and small boats to reach near-shore habitats and participate in oceanographic expeditions on larger research ships to sample off-shore or deep-sea habitats with remotely operated vehicles. Much of my work involves collection of high-resolution imagery - either video or photos - from the seafloor, and so image analysis is a staple of my research. I travel frequently, both domestically and internationally, and have ongoing projects in the Fram Strait (Arctic), Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary (off of Massachusetts), and Palau (western Pacific).

Currently, I am an Assistant Scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). Visit the blog portion of this site for the most recent information on my research activities, and contact me at if you are interested in joining my lab. More information for prospective students can be found under the "Opportunities" tab of this webpage.

Calvin Mires
Maritime archaeologist

Dr. Calvin Mires has almost 20 years of experience in maritime archaeology and underwater cultural heritage. He is a Research Associate III at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. He has led and worked on more than 30 maritime archaeology projects around the world, including Greek and Roman shipwrecks and harbors, Sweden's iconic warship Vasa, Confederate Blockade Runners in North and South Carolina, ship graveyards in Bermuda, and various sites in the Caribbean Sea, Pacific Ocean, and the Great Lakes. He is co-founder and instructor of SEAMAHP, a training program that leverages the concept of a ship's life-cycle to provide hands-on experiential learning to the public in maritime archaeology. Since 2015, he has co-directed the only maritime archaeology field schools in Massachusetts with cooperation of the Massachusetts Board of Underwater Archaeological Resources, the Trustees of Reservations, and the National Park Service, and has run maritime archaeological summer programs for middle and high school students. He is a Senior Tutor for the Nautical Archaeology Society for the New England region, a group that provides maritime archaeological training for the public. He has received grants from the National Partk Service Maritime Heritage Program and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and has published in The International Journal of Nautical ArchaeologyThe Society for Historical Archaeology, and Bermuda Maritimes. He is currently involved in several projects in Massachusetts, including archaeological investigation of the 1626 Sparrow Hawk and deep-sea research on shipwrecks in Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary.

Kharis Schrage
PhD student in the MIT-WHOI Joint Program

My name is Kharis, and I am a first-year PhD student in the MIT-WHOI Joint Program. I am from Alexandria, VA and went to William and Mary for my undergraduate (2017), where I studied the intertidal ecology and larval development of hemichordate worms in Dr. Jon Allen's lab. I have spent the past few years in the field working as a technician on a number of projects, from sturgeon population dynamics in the southeast U.S. to zooplankton ecology and pelagic trophic dynamics in Antarctica. These passions for invertebrate ecology, larval development, and polar science came together and led me to the Meyer-Kaiser lab, where I am planning on studying the benthic ecology of invertebrates and their meroplanktonic larval stages in the Arctic. I hope to use both oceanographic instruments as well as SCUBA to study and collect these organisms. I am still working out the specifics of my project, but I am very excited to be at this stage! Beyond my science, my favorite things still involve adventures and water - diving, fishing, traveling, exploring new places (and fudge!). I can be reached at

Amelia Smith
Undergraduate summer student 2020

My name is Amelia Smith, (though I go by Mimi), and I am a rising senior biology major at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Outside of classes, I sing in my colleges chorale, give tours for the office of admissions, and serve as a biology tutor for freshmen and sophomore students. In my free time, I enjoy traveling, and spending time with friends and family. Last fall, I was lucky enough to spend 3 months studying in Queensland, Australia, reigniting my passion for marine biology specifically. Participating in the undergraduate summer fellowship program at WHOI has been a goal of mine since my freshmen year of college, and I am so very honored and excited to be working with Dr. Meyer-Kaiser.