Dr. Lora Harris

     Dr. Lora Harris is an Associate Professor at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, based at the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory. She is an estuarine ecologist who applies field and modeling approaches to address important questions regarding nutrient dynamics, primary production and ecosystem structure and function in a range of estuarine ecosystems. She is especially interested in how climate and management actions interact to affect water quality characteristics in estuaries and lagoons. Some of her most recent work involves collaboration with engineers to understand the restoration trajectories of hypoxic estuaries, and the contribution of wastewater to estuarine receiving waters. Dr. Harris works closely with state and regional agencies in both a research and advisory capacity.  She is committed to efforts that increase diversity in the geosciences as a founding principal investigator of Centro Tortuga, an institutional collaboration based in Puerto Rico that is focused on exposing first year undergraduates to the marine sciences. Dr. Harris is committed to community engagement in her work, and takes just as much satisfaction in talking about water quality to a Board of County Commissioners as she does in giving a talk at a scientific conference. She received her B.S. from Smith College and her Ph.D. from the University of Rhode Island.  Dr. Harris moved to her faculty position in Maryland following a postdoctoral position at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole.

Current Students

Kevin Kahover  M.S. Candidate

Kevin is building a high-resolution computer model that captures the various physical, ecological, and chemical processes that occur on restored oyster reefs.  This model will be used to assess the ability of restored oyster reefs to remove nitrogen from the overlying water column, as well as improve overall water quality.

Isabel Sánchez-Viruet M.S. Candidate

Isabel is focusing on floating wetlands and their potential for nitrogen removal on mesohaline water of the Chesapeake Bay. The goal of this experiment is to provide well-constrained estimates of nitrogen uptake by floating wetlands and provide information about how floating wetlands can help mitigate the effects of nitrogen pollution.

Stefenie Shenoy  M.S. Candidate 

Stefenie is working to further develop an oyster reef model that aims to link oyster filtration, bioenergetics and the associated biodeposit production to nitrogen cycling in both aquaculture and natural reef configurations. Such estimates can be used to inform aquaculture practices.

Current Staff

MINDY FORSYTH  Faculty Research Assistant

M.S. Environmental Science, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) Chesapeake Biological Laboratory (CBL)

B.S. Environmental Science, Virginia Tech


M.S. Environmental Sciences: Ecology, University of Virginia

B.A. Global Environments + Sustainability, University of Virginia

B.S. Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia

Harris Lab Alumni

Aimee Neeley
Doctor of Philosophy

Melissa Day
FRA and Graduate Student

Juan Alvarez
Graduate Student

Amanda Moore
Research Technician

Curtis Szewczyk
Research Technician

Zachary Gotthardt
Master of Science

Emma Dodsworth
Research Technician

Jessica Foley
Master of Science

Casey Hodgkins
Faculty Research Assistant

Virginia Clark
Master of Science

Jennifer Bryan
Master of Science

Jake Kames
Research Technician
2012 - 2014

Matt Taylor
Research Technician

Meghann Niesen
Master of Science

Nengwang Chen
Visiting Scientist

Katherine Davis
Master of Science

Eric Long
Research Technician
2011 - 2012

Jennifer Humphrey
Research Technician

Annie Lerch
Research Technician
2009 - 2011

Deanna Hanks
Faculty Research Assistant
2008 - 2010


Olivia Lopez - 2019
Brooke Iancone - 2017
Alexia Rodriguez - 2016
Peter Han - 2015
Jade Bowins - 2013
Yasiel Figueroa - 2012
Hilary Staver - 2011
Emily Gravens - 2011
Kelly Rooker - 2010
Laura Almodovar Acevedo - 2009
Keala Sato Cummings - 2008


Issac Boone - Fall 2019
David Sebulime - Spring 2020