May 21, 2015


De Mutsert Fish Ecology Lab Undergraduate Students

Katie Russell

Katie Russell is an undergraduate student majoring in Environmental and Sustainability Studies with an interest in fisheries ecology, graduating in May 2020. In the De Mutsert lab, she has assisted in sorting ichthyoplankton  samples from creeks within Gunston Cove and Hunting Creek. In addition, she has assisted in field collections of both adult fish and ichthyoplankton in Accotink Creek, Pohick Creek, and Cameron Run and collections of adult fish in Gunston Cove and Hunting Creek. Katie has also been conducting research through OSCAR’s Undergraduate Research Scholar’s Program (URSP). Her research aims to examine differences in spawning population sizes of river herring (the collective name for alewife and blueback herring) in Cameron Run, Pohick Creek, and Accotink Creek along with the water quality parameters that may influence the spawning population sizes.

Jeremy Williams

Jeremy was an OSCAR student in the summer of 2019. He studied the effect of human development on fish community composition in freshwater tidal tributaries.


Tanya Traeger

Tanya Traeger was an undergraduate student in the department of Biology and an aspiring veterinarian.  She happened across the Environmental Science Program, specifically the Fish Ecology Lab, when she was accepted to the department of Biology’s Fall Research Semester of 2016. Working directly with Kim de Mutsert and Casey Pehrson, Tanya studied a regime shift in the fish community and diet analysis at Gunston Cove, VA. Data collected from 2016 was compared to historical data from 1999 to illustrate the community shift. Additionally, Tanya collaborated with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Edgewater, MD to perform DNA barcoding of fish stomach contents. Ultimately, the results from this project will provided insight into the diets of the fish in the cove. Hopefully, the study of the fish stomach contents will continue in the upcoming years to illustrate the response of the native fish to the invasive Blue Catfish and to the continued increase in water quality of the cove.

Katie Pic

Katie Saalbach

Katie received her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Environmental Science and Policy with a concentration in Aquatic Ecology from George Mason University. She has an interest in both freshwater and marine ecosystems, particularly regarding species diversity and habitat suitability of aquatic ecosystems. While volunteering with the fish ecology lab, Katie has worked on sorting macro invertebrates from drop ring samples as well as dissecting fish specimens from Pohick and Accotink creek. She has also had the opportunity to work in the field to help collect these samples and other habitat analysis data.


Lauren Cross

Lauren was an Environmental Science student with academic interests including aquatic ecology in the freshwater, marine, and estuarine habitat as well as the evolution and conservation of herpetofaunal communities. She was an active volunteer in the Fisheries Ecology Laboratory and participated in field observations and collections on the tidal Potomac River.

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Maryam Sedaghatpour 

Maryam began volunteering in the fish ecology laboratory in 2014 after taking biodiversity with one of Dr. de Mutsert’s graduate students. Since then she has completed an independent study that looked at how the macroinvertebrate community is correlated with the aquatic vegetation in Gunston Cove, VA. She completed a work-study with the lab that further expanded her lab and field skills.

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Logan Richie

Logan graduated with a Biology major and a Forensic Science minor.  Logan plans on either going to medical school or becoming a crime lab technician or crime scene investigator for the FBI or CIA. He was a member of the wrestling team at GMU and enjoys reading, playing videogames, working out and going to the beach.


Sammie Alexander

Sammie was an undergraduate Honors College student at George Mason, studying Environmental Science with a concentration in Marine, Estuarine, and Freshwater Ecology and a minor in Conservation Studies. She has a strong interest in wildlife preservation and recovery. In 2016 Sammie researched the effects of temperature on the growth of young-of-year blueback herring in Potomac River tributaries. Then in 2017 Sammie rejoined the lab to study  the assessment of fish community structure and diet composition of fishes in two freshwater tidal Potomac River embayments: Gunston Cove and Hunting Creek, VirginiaAfter working in the Fisheries Ecology Lab as an undergraduate, she joined the lab as a Master’s student.