CURRENT WORK: My general research interests focus on how humans interact with and impact the marine environment. Specifically, I’m interested in developing interdisciplinary, scientifically-sound tools and strategies that can better manage, conserve, and restore our oceans and coasts.
For my dissertation, I am examining the impacts of spatial management on fisher’s behavior, choice of fishing grounds, productivity, and how changes in fisher behavior may overlap or interact with important ecological and biological processes in fish populations. I am currently using fisheries-dependent and independent data sources to investigate changes in fishery productivity and fishing communities over time, especially as they relate to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. I am using the emergency closures from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010 as a case study for how fishermen respond to changes in available fishing grounds.
I am also passionate about social and economic justice, promoting diversity in STEM, inspiring young women to pursue STEM careers, science advocacy, and working at the science-policy interface. I have worked in various aspects over the past several years to fulfill these passions, including lobbying on Capitol Hill, working as a science mentor with Oceanography Camp for Girls, and serving as the Co-President with USF Graduate Assistants United.
I am advised by Dr. Steve Murawski and am currently funded through an NSF proposal granted to Dr. Murawski, with additional support from the Garrels Memorial Fellowship in Marine Science. Past funding has included the Guy Harvey Scholarship and the USF/NMFS Marine Resource Assessment Fellowship.
EDUCATION & PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE: I received a B.S. in marine science from Stony Brook University in 2008 and an M.S. in marine biology from Northeastern University through the Three Seas Program in 2010. For my Masters thesis I examined the potential impacts of climate change on the population dynamics of three species in a fouling community in central California (see Cockrell & Sorte 2013, Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology).
After graduating from Northeastern, I worked for 2 years as the lead research assistant and lab manager with Dr. Heather Leslie at Brown University, where I examined the structure and function of rocky shore communities, especially as they pertain to human coastal development impacts. Some of our work was recently published in Ecosphere (see Cockrell et al. 2015, Ecosphere). Dr. Leslie is now the director at the Darling Marine Center at the University of Maine.