Meet the Microzooplankton Lab!

George McManus, Professor


  • A.B., Cornell, 1973
  • M.S., Stony Brook University, 1981
  • Ph.D., Stony Brook University, 1986 Click here for a CV.
  • Professor McManus’ research interests include: Interactions between Planktonic Populations and Physical Processes, Trophic Roles of Protozoa and other Microzooplankton, & Biogeography of microbial eukaryotes.
  • Professor McManus has been at UCONN Marine Sciences since 1995, with prior appointments at the Institute of Ecosystem Studies, the University of Maryland, and the Dauphin Island Sea Lab.
  • Send him an email.

Luciana Santoferrara, Assistant Professor, Hofstra University

  • B.S., Universidad de Buenos Aires, 2002 (Biochemistry)
  • Ph.D., Universidad de Buenos Aires, 2008 (Biological Sciences)
  • Ecology of tintinnid ciliates.
  • Luciana is an Assistant Professorat Hofstra University on Long Island, and is a co-PI on our NSF grant. She helps us to classify tintinnid species from Long Island Sound according to traditional lorica morphology and also modern DNA-based methods. Although she has her own lab at Hofstra now, she is still the main person in the Microzooplankton Lab involved with bioinformatics.

Rachel Cole, Research Assistant Emerita

  • B.S. University of Connecticut, 2018 (Marine Sciences)
  • Rachel, a four-year member of the lab, graduated with her BS in Marine Sciences in Spring 2018. She worked on a number of projects, including the DEEP microzooplankton monitoring, and took care of our phytoplankton and ciliate cultures. As of Fall 2018, she has had emerita status in the lab and consults with us frequently on various matters. In Fall 2020, she entered law school.

Sue Smith, Post-doctoral Research Associate

  • Sue graduated from UCONN with a PhD in Oceanography in Fall 2020.
  • She is currently working on finding sequences in the ciliate germline nucleus that definitively separate reproductively-isolated species.
  • Send her an email.

Josiah Grzywacz, MS student

  • Josiah graduated with a M.S. in Marine Sciences, working on the photophysiology of Strombidium rassoulzadegani, an oligotrich ciliate that acquires photosynthetic capability by retaining the chloroplasts from its ingested prey.  He is waiting to hear about his application for a Fulbright fellowship to do research in Poland.

Destiny Ropati, Visiting REU student for Summer 2021


  • Destiny worked in the lab during 2021. 
  • She studied the ciliates that live in the blowholes of beluga whales, comparing abundances in different whales. She also extracted DNA to quantify the microbiome in the whale blowhole

Darryl Bredy, Visiting REU student for Summer 2021

  • Darryl is studying Chemical Engineering at UCONN.
  • He worked in the lab during summer 2021 as an undergraduate intern, studying how protists process microplastics in wastewater.

Jessie Steadman, Undergraduate Research Assistant

  • Jessie is an undergraduate Marine Sciences major. She maintains our cultures and does statistical analyses on our time series data.