Jensen Lab
Lab Members  

Lab members

Olaf Jensen

I’m originally from Callicoon, NY – a small town on the Upper Delaware River. I went to Cornell U. for a BA in Biology & Society and then to the U. of Maryland Chesapeake Biological Lab for an MS in Marine Science. I did my Ph.D. research at the U. of Wisconsin Center for Limnology, followed by a postdoc (Smith Fellowship) at U. of Washington. My research interests are a mix of fisheries science and aquatic (marine & freshwater) ecology. In my free time I enjoy fishing (big surprise!), sailing, hiking, and most other outdoor pursuits.


Lab Managers

afJennifer Pincin

I am originally from Manitoba, Canada, but I went to high school in Georgia, after which I went to Auburn University to study marine biology for my BS  While there I worked in a fisheries lab, which led me to get my Master's degree in Fisheries Science at the University of Maryland's Chesapeake Biological Lab.  However, I have tried to expose myself to as many methods and modes of research and analysis as possible.  I have experience in lipid extraction, gas chromatography and stable isotope analysis, stock assessment modeling, bomb calorimetry, and aging fish with both otoliths and scales.  In my free time I love playing German-style board games and exploring any new place I can get to, whether close to home or far away.

AnthonyAnthony Vastano

I was born and raised in central New Jersey and got both my BS (2012) and MS (2016) from Rutgers. My graduate work involved studying age and growth in the Gulf Killifish, Fundulus grandis. I work on a variety of projects as part of the Jensen lab, particularly the annual shad and river herring tagging project. I feel science can be understood by the general public if explained well, and hope to pursue a career doing just this. My interest in the natural world was sparked by the aquarium hobby, and I continue to be an avid reef aquarist. I also enjoy exploring, photography, and taking ridiculously long road trips.



Postdoctoral Researchers

Kiva Oken

I grew up in Portland, Oregon where the mountains and ocean of the verdant Pacific Northwest quickly attracted me to the natural world. I went on to attend Carleton College in Minnesota where I graduated in 2010 with a BA in math and a minor in environmental studies. I completed my PhD at the University of Washington in the Quantitative Ecology & Resource Management (QERM) program in 2016. My research strives to combine novel statistical methods with mechanistic mathematical models to analyze complex data sets, answer ecological questions, and use that new insight to improve our management of natural resources. I am also easily distracted by other ecologists' data analysis quandaries. At Rutgers, my work focuses on using trophic biomarkers to infer diets of aquatic species, particularly related to food webs in Louisiana salt marshes and quantifying how they have responded to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. When not writing beautiful R code, I enjoy sharing good food and self-propelled recreation: bicycling, climbing, backpacking, paddling, etc.


Graduate Students

Chris_FreeChris Free

I am originally from the Philadelphia area but escaped the suburbs often enough to develop an interest in ecology and conservation. I graduated from Middlebury College in 2010 with a BA in Conservation Biology and completed an undergraduate thesis modeling big-leaf mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla) population dynamics in the Brazilian Amazon ( This work solidified my interest in applied ecology and the use of mathematical and spatial analyses to inform marine conservation and management decisions. For my PhD, I am evaluating data-poor stock assessment methodologies and studying the extent of illegal gillnet fishing in Lake Hovsgol, Mongolia and its potential impact on the endangered Hovsgol grayling (Thymallus nigrescens). Outside of work, I enjoy competing in endurance sports -- particularly running, exploring the outdoors, home brewing, and playing trombone. Personal Website


Abigail GoldenAbigail Golden

I am a Ph.D. student in the ecology and evolution program at Rutgers University with interests in fisheries as social-ecological systems. As an undergraduate at Columbia University, I studied the conservation of fished coral reef ecosystems in Fiji. After graduating, I developed the first global dataset of ferry accidents as a research associate for the Worldwide Ferry Safety Association. I have also worked for the Daily Beast and the New-York-New Jersey Harbor & Estuary Program. I am an avid contra dancer and SCUBA diver and a volunteer at the New York Aquarium.



Mattea BerglundMattea Berglund

I grew up in northern California, where camping, rafting, and tidepooling inspired my interest in the natural world. I graduated from Brown University with a BS in Biology in 2017. I am passionate about aquatic ecology, conservation, and effective science communication. As a research technician in the Jensen lab, I primarily work on a ventless trap survey of New Jersey’s artificial reefs. When I am not offshore, I enjoy swing dancing, traveling, and a wide range of outdoor activities.




Stephanie Melaravastano

I was born and raised in Elizabeth New Jersey, where I discovered my love for almost all sciences. I am currently majoring in marine biology. As a lab technician in the Jensen lab, I help with fatty acid analyses in order to understand food webs, and I also assist with the American Shad and Herring migration project. During my time at Rutgers, I hope to work on a variety of research projects, both marine based and otherwise. After graduation I plan to pursue a graduate degree in Fisheries, but also expect to go back to school to study botany or wildlife ecology. In my free time I enjoy reading fiction and watching all kinds of movies.




Doug Zemeckis (postdoc 2016-2017)

Currently a County Agent III for the Rutgers University New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station







Michael McCann (postdoc 2015-2016)

Currently at The Nature Conservancy in New York.








Talia Young (Ph.D. Ecology and Evolution Graduate Program Spring 2016)Talia

Currently a postdoc at Princeton University.









Orion Weldon

Currently at TerraPurezza Regenerative Agriculture Institute and Farm in Spicewood, Texas.







Jim Vasslides (Ph.D. Ecology and Evolution Graduate Program Fall 2015)Vasslides_pic

Currently at the Barnegat Bay Partnership in New Jersey.








Andrew Lahr (BS 2015)vastano

Currently a Fisheries Technician with the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission.








Alise Strauch (BS 2015)vastano

Currently at BMW of North America








Evan Kwityn (BS Marine Biology 2014)vastano

Currently an environmental statistician at Princeton Hydro








Mikaela Provost (MS Graduate Program in Oceanography Fall 2013)MProvost

Currently pursuing a Ph.D. at UC Davis








Philipp Neubauer (postdoc 2011-2013)af

Currently at Dragonfly Science in Wellington, New Zealand












Photo credits Olaf Jensen, Brant Allen, Jeremy Monroe | Site design Freshwaters Illustrated