Researcher of the Week: Emma Taccardi

As a part of a new social media initiative to connect you with our researchers, we are introducing the Maine EPSCoR and SEANET Researcher of the Week. Each week we will feature a graduate researcher on our social media and our website. If you would like to have your work featured, please contact us at maine.epscor@maine.edu.

This week’s Researcher of the Week is Emma Taccardi. Emma is a PhD candidate interested in marine ecosystem sustainability, parasitology, and invertebrate biology, working under SEANET’s theme two, Changing Environment. She has always had a strong interest in marine invertebrate biology, and was first captivated by the study when she took a parasitology course in her undergraduate studies. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Biology and Music from Hamilton College and her work has spanned from coastal restoration for the Nature Conservancy on Block Island, Rhode Island, to hydrogeological engineering at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California. Emma is a native of Rochester, New York and when she is not working she is either running, spending time outdoors, reading, or playing guitar or piano.

She is currently working on a dissertation at the University of Maine titled “Overwintering strategies of the salmon louse, Lepeophtheirus salmonis.” This research focuses on the vertical distribution of sea lice in a range of water columns. Emma, with the help of fellow SEANET graduate student Andrew Goode, constructed a 4-m-tall tank to test the settlement and swimming speeds of sea lice under low temperatures. To supplement the behavioral study, Emma analyzes oxygen consumption rates of the lice to see how physiology plays a role in where and when they are found. In addition, Emma is investigating the density of sea lice to tease apart the potential interactions between natural buoyancy and active behavior to maintain position within the water column. Each of these experiments are conducted in different labs on campus and Emma says she is “enjoying being able to collaborate with a wide range of people.”