Sunset dive, Curaçao



Joseph Flores

I am a 2014 graduate of the University of North Carolina Wilmington with my B.S. in marine biology. My primary interests are in marine life and conservation and I enjoy both field work and hands on data gathering. I currently gathering morphometric data in gar to better understand biodiversity patterns in living fossil fishes. I am looking forward to furthering my knowledge of fishes and hope to find a career in this field of study.

April Lamb

I am starting my junior year at North Carolina State University and am majoring in Zoology with intended minors in Applied Ecology and Biotechnology. I currently work in the lab of Dr. John Godwin at NC State, where I look at the expression of GnRH1 and Kisspeptin receptors in the hypothalamus of Bluehead wrasses, a sex changing coral reef fish, to gain insight on the systems’ roles in the sex change process. Here at the NCMNS fish unit, I am gaining a foundation in phylogenetic and biogeographic analyses as I explore the biogeography of Antarctic icefishes. I am broadly interested in marine and behavioral ecology and the interactions between fishes and invertebrate species relative to a changing environment. I intend to pursue a graduate degree in one of these related fields and further my research experience after I graduate from NC State.

Leela Rao

I hold degrees in Zoology from NC State University, a Masters in Coastal Environmental Management from Duke University, and a degree in Veterinary Medical Technology. I love championing less celebrated species, especially those that have a profound influence on our natural ecosystems. Fishes are one such example, often seen only through a consumer lens. I seek to reveal the extraordinary and diverse characteristics of these taxa, and bring awareness to their plight for a more sustainable existence alongside humanity. Working in the fishes unit, I am involved in a study assessing the evolutionary dynamics associated with transitions between activity patterns, and am helping the unit develop a research program in fish hematology in collaboration with the museum’s veterinary staff. I also have a guinea pig named Hubble, named after the telescope that has arguably provided data for the most groundbreaking scientific discoveries in the history of humankind, and a puppy named Simba.He is fluffy and goofy, and has been taught to be wary of estranged uncles bearing gifts.