Welcome to the Master of Science in
Marine and Environmental Biology Program
This program allows students to take an expedition through Louisiana’s swamps, marshes and coastal areas. With state-of-the-art laboratory facilities and easy access to multiple field sites, our graduate students are well prepared for real world marine and environmental careers when they finish their graduate school expedition at Nicholls.
The marine and environmental biology program is thesis-based, and thesis research projects have ranged from the molecular to the ecosystem level and everywhere in between.
The Department of Biological Sciences includes 13 graduate faculty on staff and numerous adjunct faculty, including researchers at LUMCON.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have about our program.
Dr. Chris Bonvillain,
Coordinator of Biology Graduate Program
Q: Who should I contact for more information about the program?
A: You should contact Dr. Chris Bonvillain by e-mail or call him at 985.449.7116.
Q: Should I fill out an application for the university and the Department of Biological Sciences Graduate Program?
A: Yes. You must first be accepted by the university before we can accept you into our graduate program. You can easily apply to the university online. For more information read tab below.
Q: Do I need to complete the mentor agreement form in the Department’s application packet?
A: Yes. A graduate faculty member must agree to be your mentor/major professor for you to be accepted into the program.
Q: Are assistantships available?
A: Yes, but they are competitive and are typically given to the most qualified students. There are three types of assistantships available, and the stipend level varies. For more information, go to our assistantship tab below.
Q: Is the biology department accredited?
A: Although we would embrace the challenge of earning accreditation, there is no accrediting agency for biology departments in the United States. The biology department at Nicholls is comprised of a faculty of hard-working professionals renowned for their teaching and research accomplishments, as well as their service to the region, state and nation. As validation of our good work for and with students, we would certainly seek accreditation if it were possible. Despite the fact that there is no accreditation agency specifically for us, you should realize that the entire university is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award degrees at the associate, baccalaureate, masters, and specialist degree levels.
Q: Do I have to have an undergraduate biology degree from Nicholls to apply for the Master of Science graduate program in your department?
A: No, and, in fact, the diversity of the students we accept improves the breadth of our program. We can accept students with good recommendations, good GRE scores and good undergraduate grade-point averages from any science curriculum anywhere in the world. Visit our M.S. degree program page for more details.
- B.S. degree in a life science curriculum
- Minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.00
- Combined GRE (verbal + quantitative) of 300
- TOEFL score of 550 (PBT)/213 (CBT)/80 (IBT) for international students
- Graduate faculty member agree to be major professor (agreement form in the departmental application packet)
- Three letters of recommendation from professionals in the field
- Cover letter and resume or CV
- Complete application (online and departmental)
- Marine and Environmental Biology Application Packet
- Apply for admission to Nicholls State University
The packet will serve as the program and graduate assistantship application. Please send the completed application packet, official GRE scores, all official college transcripts, cover letter, and CV or resume to:
Dr. Christopher Bonvillain
Graduate Program Coordinator
Department of Biological Sciences
Nicholls State University
P.O. Box 2021
Thibodaux, LA 70310
When your application is received, you will be notified by e-mail. For more application information, contact Dr. Chris Bonvillain.
The deadline for applying for teaching assistantships starting in the Fall semester is March 26. For assistantships starting in the Spring semester the deadline is October 25. Applications not requesting an assistantship are accepted at any time.
Where will your expedition take you? You can decide.
Our graduate program incorporates flexibility to allow you to tailor the curriculum to your interests and career/research goals.
To earn a M.S. in Marine and Environmental Biology, students must complete a minimum of 35 hours consisting of 23 hours of core courses and 12 hours of committee-approved elective courses, including at least one LUMCON course.
A maximum of six hours of 400-level graduate coursework may count toward course requirements. A maximum of six hours of 500-level geomatics (GEOM) courses may count toward course requirements. All coursework applicable to your degree program must be approved by your thesis research committee.
Course descriptions are listed in the University Catalog.
A maximum of 6 transfer hours may be applied to course requirements after approval by your thesis research committee.
Required core courses (23 hrs)
One statistics course from the following:
BIOL 503 Experimental Design (Fall only) or
BIOL 537 Applied Statistical Ecology (Spring only) or
BIOL 542 Biological Data Analysis (Spring only)
|BIOL 550 Science Communication (Spring only)||(3 hrs)|
|BIOL 551 Marine and Environmental Biology I (Fall only)||(3 hrs)|
|BIOL 552 Marine and Environmental Biology II (Spring only)||(3 hr)|
|BIOL 560 Marine and Environmental Regulation, Law, and Policy Workshop (Spring only)||(1 hr)|
|BIOL 574 Graduate Internship||(2 hrs)|
|BIOL 501 Graduate Seminar (Thesis defense, taken in final semester)||(1 hr)|
|BIOL 591, 592, 593, 594 Thesis Research||(6 hrs)|
|BIOL 599 Thesis||(1 hr)|
Elective courses (12 hrs)
|*BIOL 417 Molecular Ecology (Fall only)||(3 hrs)|
|*BIOL 430 Limnology (Spring only)||(3 hrs)|
|*BIOL 435 Herpetology (Spring even-years only)||(3 hrs)|
|*BIOL 473 Our Changing Coastal Ocean (LUMCON compressed video course)||(3 hrs)|
|*BIOL 480 Environmental Biotechnology (Spring only)||(4 hrs)|
|*BIOL 483 Marine and Estuarine Biology (Fall only)||(3 hrs)|
|*BIOL 490 Environmental Toxicology (Fall only)||(3 hrs)|
|BIOL 503 Experimental Design (Fall only)||(3 hrs)|
|BIOL 504 Ecological Restoration (Fall only)||(3 hrs)|
|BIOL 510 Applied GIS for Biologists (Fall only)||(3 hrs)|
|BIOL 530 Aquatic Ecology (Spring only)||(3 hrs)|
|BIOL 537 Applied Statistical Ecology (Spring only)||(3hrs)|
|BIOL 542 Biological Data Analysis (Spring only)||(3 hrs)|
|BIOL 561 Wetland Plant Ecology (Fall only)||(3 hrs)|
|BIOL 570 Special Topics||(3 hrs)|
|BIOL 575 Environmental Diagnostics and Biomarkers (Spring even-years only)||(3 hrs)|
|BIOL 585 Aquatic Toxicology (Fall only)||(3 hrs)|
|*CHEM 490 Special Topics in Chemistry||(3 hrs)|
|**GEOM 501 GIS Applications (Summer odd-years only)||(3 hrs)|
|**GEOM 511 GPS for Mappers (Summer odd-years only)||(3 hrs)|
|**GEOM 521 Remote Sensing (Summer even-years only)||(3 hrs)|
|**GEOM 531 Spatial Databases (Summer even-years only)||(3 hrs)|
*A maximum of six hours of 400-level graduate coursework may count toward course requirements.
**A maximum of six hours of graduate-level Geomatics may count toward course requirements.
Students are required to compose and defend a committee-approved thesis.
- As a master’s biology student, your thesis committee will be composed of a thesis adviser and two to four additional committee members. The thesis committee must include at least three individuals with a Ph.D. Non-Ph.D. individuals may serve as a fourth or fifth committee member and are usually experts in your field of study. At least three of the Ph.D. committee members must be from the Nicholls graduate faculty.
- Download the Thesis Guidelines and Format Instructions 2020 revision
Grades and Time Limit
Students must maintain at least a 3.0 GPA, and only two Cs may count toward the degree. Most students finish this program in two years, although they have up to six years to complete their degree.
Additional policies, forms, guidelines
For more information on graduate studies, visit the Nicholls Office of Graduate Studies Web site.
Check out the diversity of thesis projects our previous graduates have worked on. Electronic copies of current theses are located at the Ellender Library’s Thesis Repository.
|Leith Adams||Spring 2004||Chemical control of the gut microbial population of the Formosan subterranean termite, Coptotermes formosanus, and the isolation and identification of facultative bacteria from the gut|
|Angie Corbin||Spring 2004||Recovery of F+ RNA specific bacteriophage for the evaluation of a marsh land upwelling system in low saline waters|
|Mark Doolittle||Spring 2005||Use of natural products and lytic peptides to control the Formosan subterranean termite, Coptotermes formosanus, and the isolation, identification and characterization of Klebsiella pneumoniae sub. pneumoniae from the hindgut of the Formosan subterranean termite|
|Letha Dawson||Fall 2005||Optimization of chemical pretreatment of post-harvest sugarcane residue for fuel alcohol production|
|Jennifer Lasseigne||Fall 2005||Development of reproductive biomarkers in fish and amphibians|
|Laurie Rodrigue||Fall 2005||Characterization of water quality along Bayou Terrebonne and Bayou Little Caillou, Louisiana|
|Ronnie Self||Fall 2005||Isolating genomic biomarkers from the Louisiana red swamp crawfish, Procambarus clarkii|
|Cassie Addison||Spring 2006||Temporal and spatial oyster recruitment patterns and growth from spat to seed in the Barataria Estuary|
|Christopher Bonvillain||Spring 2006||The use of a low-water refuge in the Atchafalaya River Basin by adult spotted gar, Lepisosteus oculatus|
|Perry Boudreaux||Spring 2006||Acute ammonia toxicity and chloride inhibition of nitrite uptake in non-teleost Actinopterygiian Fishes|
|Brandon Clark||Spring 2006||Bioremediation of explosive-contaminated soil|
|Rhongzon Ye||Spring 2006||The impact of hypoxia on bioaccumulation and metabolism of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon|
|Johnathan Davis||Fall 2006||Reproductive biology, life history and population structure of a bowfin, Amia calva, population in southeastern Louisiana|
|Jacques Fontenot||Fall 2006||Seasonal abundance, GSI and age structure of gizzard shad, Dorosoma cepedianum, in the Upper Barataria Basin|
|Chris Lyles||Fall 2006||Biological treatment of shrimp aquaculture wastewater using a sequencing batch reactor pilot plant study|
|MattiLynn Dantin||Spring 2007||Distribution and relative abundance of blue crabs, Callinectes sapidus, in the Upper Barataria Estuary|
|Michael Wiley||Spring 2007||Estimation of over-wintering, population density and distribution of an exotic lizard, the Brown Anole, Anolis sagrei, in southeastern Louisiana using a novel tagging method|
|Heather Dyer||Fall 2007||Seasonal fish assemblages of Bayou Lafourche upstream and downstream of the Thibodaux weir|
|Ronnie Duke||Spring 2008||Temporal and spatial oyster survival and growth patterns from seed to market in the Barataria Estuary|
|Marcel Estay||Spring 2008||Assessment of water quality in the upper Barataria Estuary|
|Nick Gaspard||Spring 2008||Comparison of intertidal oyster populations between a rock breakwater and a natural reef in lower Barataria Estuary|
|Olivia Smith||Spring 2008||Reproductive potential and life history of spotted gar Lepisosteus oculatus in the upper Barataria Estuary|
|Yanling Meng||Fall 2008|
|Sean Jackson||Spring 2009|
|Dhritikshama Roy||Summer 2009||Performance of sequencing batch reactor (SBR) in treating synthetic and shrimp aquaculture production wastewater|
|Trevis Olivier||Fall 2009||Effects of temperature and storage regimes on the germination rates of three native warm-season grasses|
|Jeremy Dunn||Fall 2009||Effects of phosphate on growth in the reef coral Acropora formosa|
|Nicole Broussard||Fall 2009||Stage specific potency and phylogenetic sensitivity of gar toxin|
|Komi Hassan||Fall 2009||Optimization of a sequencing batch reactor (SBR) for the treatment of shrimp aquaculture wastewater|
|Mark Suchy||Fall 2009||Effects of salinity on growth and survival of larval and juvenile Alligator Gar, Atractosteus spatula, and on plasma osmolality of non-teleost Actinopterygiian fishes|
|Nicole Eddlemon||Fall 2009||Water quality and microbial ecology of the upper Barataria Estuary|
|Tim Clay||Fall 2009||Growth, survival, and cannibalistic rates of Alligator Gar Atractosteus spatula in recirculating aquaculture systems|
|Kelsey Adkisson||Spring 2010||Temporal and spatial distribution of native and invasive bivalves in Bayou Lafourche, Louisiana|
|Sara Shields||Spring 2010||Evaluation of energy cane for lignocellulosic ethanol production|
|Cynthia Fox||Spring 2010||Seasonal abundance, age structure, gonadosomatic index, and gonad histology of Yellow Bass Morone mississippiensis in the upper Barataria Estuary, Louisiana|
|E.J. Raynor||Spring 2010||Understanding the use of barrier islands as nesting habitat for Louisiana waterbirds|
|Susan Doty||Summer 2010||Benthic respiration and nutrient fluxes in the Atchafalaya River delta estuary|
|Saori Mine||Summer 2010||Effects of organic acids on shrimp pathogen, Vibrio harveyi|
|Siva Nunna||Summer 2010||Assessing ethoxyresorufin-O-deethylase activity in Uca pugilator during the molting cycle|
|Mark Linson||Fall 2010||Initial oyster reef-building potential on constructed shoreline structures used for erosion control in a Louisiana salt marsh|
|Tabitha Owen||Fall 2010||Habitat requirements and productivity of colonial waterbirds nesting on the Isles Dernieres Barrier Island Refuge|
|Rachel Ianni||Spring 2011||Monitoring diets and growth rates of native predatory fish stocked to suppress non-native Tilapia|
|Jenny Ledet||Spring 2011||Sequence analysis of reproductive biomarkers for freshwater and saltwater species of the Barataria-Terrebonne estuary system|
|Clint Troxler||Spring 2011||Change in the fish assemblage of the upper Barataria Estuary associated with input from the Davis Pond freshwater diversion|
|Justin Merrifield||Fall 2011||A study of complement activity and antimicrobial peptides in Spotted Gar Lepisosteus oculatus|
|Lisa Breaux||Fall 2011||Evaluating the effects of salt acclimation on the growth and survival of Spartina alterniflora|
|Billy Finney||Spring 2012||Comparative growth and propagule viability of Louisiana-harvested Black Mangrove, Avicenia germinans|
|Amanda Playter||Spring 2012||Body size in Green Treefrogs (Hyla cinerea) inhabiting the lower Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary|
|Dan O’Malley||Spring 2012||The effects of wave energy and emersion regime on initial oyster community development on constructed oyster reefs|
|Taren Manley||Fall 2012||Spotted Gar Lepisosteus oculatus diets in the upper Barataria Estuary|
|Kent Bollfrass||Fall 2012||Improving growth rates and survival of cultured Alligator Gar Atractosteus spatula with live feeds and Spotted Gar Lepisosteus oculatus with thyroid hormones|
|Victoria Bacheler||Spring 2013||Constructed oyster reefs assist in creastion of habitat for fish and macroinvertebrate communities in Terrebonne Bay, Louisiana|
|Clayton Kern||Spring 2013||Sustainable treatment and recovery of shrimp aquaculture wastewater using sequencing batch reactor|
|Bo Boudreaux||Spring 2013||Assessment of largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides age, growth, gonad development, and diet in the upper Barataria Estuary|
|David Curtiss||Summer 2013||Wintering waterbird habitat preference on the Isles Dernieres Barrier Island Refuge, Louisiana|
|Travis Everage||Fall 2013||A survey of antibiotic resistant bacteria in raw sewage and various treatment stages of the Thibodaux Sewage Treatment Plant|
|Maggie Bruce||Fall 2013||Stomach content comparisons between fish associated with constructed and natural oyster reefs of Crassostrea viginica|
|Stacy Martinez||Fall 2013||Anthropogenic molecular markers in Bayou Lafourche|
|Sam Wise||Summer 2014||Anthropogenic microbial source tracking in Bayou Lafourche, Louisiana|
|Jeff Liechty||Fall 2014||Diet composition and breeding site fidelity of royal tern and sandwich tern on Louisiana barrier islands|
|Ashlee Minor||Fall 2014||Forested freshwater wetland responses to secondarily treated municipal effluent discharge|
|Tejashri Vaidya||Spring 2015||Detection and characterization of humoral and cellular immune components in red drum Sciaenops ocellatus and black drum Pogonias cromis|
|Caleb Bourgeios||Spring 2015||Predation, recruitment, and reef development of hooked mussels (Ischadium recurvum) and eastern oysters (Crassostrea virginica) on fabricated and natural oyster reefs|
|Kristin Buter||Spring 2015||Seston clearance rates of bivalves on living shoreline oyster reefs from a northern Gulf of Mexico estuary|
|Jordan Bell||Spring 2015||Effects of artificial perches on wintering diurnal raptor visitation and small mammal populations|
|Stacy Calhoun||Summer 2015||Analysis of exoskeletal content and epidermal enzymatic activity during the molting cycle of the blue crab, Callinectes sapidus|
|Michelle Felterman||Summer 2015||Population dynamics, reproductive biology and diet of alligator gar Atractosteus spatula in Terrebonne Estuary and Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge|
|John Grosch||Fall 2015||Fish community structure in the hydrologically impaired upper Barataria Estuary, Louisiana|
|Chris Levron||Fall 2015||Reproductive biology of a freshwater population of the Gulf Pipefish, Syngnathus scovelli, with comparison to populations of varying salinity found on the northern Gulf Coast|
|Eric Ledet||Spring 2016||Diet composition of hunter-harvested waterfowl at the White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area|
|Abby Adams||Spring 2016||Complement protein and erythrocyte derived peptides show antibacterial activity in hardhead catfish Ariopsis felis and yellow bullhead catfish Ameiurus natalis|
|Scott Bergeron||Spring 2016||Presence of antibiotic resistant bacteria and antibiotic resistance genes in the raw source water and treated drinking water in a southeast Louisiana water treatment plant|
|Ashley Booth||Summer 2016||Impact of molt-inhibiting PBDEs on epidermal ecdysteroid signaling in Callinectes sapidus: an initial mechanistic look into disruption of crustacean molting|
|Samantha Hicks||Fall 2016||Proximate cues underlying maternal care behavior in blue crabs, Callinectes sapidus|
|Nichole Lundberg||Spring 2017||Physiological changes in two populations of ‘Atractosteus spatula’ larvae in response to acute salinity challenges|
|Eva Windhoffer||Spring 2017||Evaluation of mammalian predator removal and video monitoring as management tools for waterbird conservation|
|Justin Duke||Summer 2017||Comparison of life history characteristics of alligator gar Atractosteus spatula from southern Terrebonne Estuary and Rockefeller State Wildlife Refuge|
|Sarah Bergeron||Fall 2017||The microbial gut ecology of the red swamp crayfish, Procambarus clarkii|
|Lauren Kong||Fall 2017||Population characteristics of red swamp crayfish Procambarus clarkii from hydrologically impaired locations in the Atchafalaya River Basin|
|Meredith McKoin||Fall 2017||The invasion of the Indo-Pacific coral, Tubastraea micranthus, in the northern Gulf of Mexico and the possibility of multiple introductions|
|Megan Nepshinsky||Fall 2017||Sex determination of Royal and Sandwich Terns and identification of Royal Tern foraging movements during the breeding period|
|Frank Yrle||Fall 2017||Spatio-temporal characterization of barrier island vegetation using a small unmanned aircraft system|
|David Bird||Spring 2018||Water quality, bacteriological survey, and observation of acquired antibiotic resistance in Bayou Lafourche, Louisiana|
|Emily Bodin||Spring 2018||Ammonia production and elimination in spotted gar Lepisosteus oculatus embryos and larvae|
|Richard Grabert||Spring 2018||The effect of tetracycline on nitrogen and carbon removal in a local sewage treatment plant in Thibodaux, Louisiana|
|Gerard Lombardo||Spring 2018||Interactive effects of Triclosan and cadmium expsoure on molting and reproduction in the water flea, Daphnia magna|
|Andria Ostrowski||Spring 2018||Hormonal control of epidermal carbonic anhydrase and exoskeletal metal deposition in the blue crab, Callinectes sapidus|
|Alexis Rixner||Spring 2018||Comparison of bowfin, Amia calva, diets and reproductive activity in the upper Barataria Estuary and Atchafalaya River Basin|
|Seth Van Dexter||Spring 2018||Analysis of termite microbiome and degradation of phenol by bacteria isolated from termite gut|
|Ellie Wallace||Summer 2018||Comparison of finfish assemblages between the Atchafalaya River Basin and the upper Bartaria Estuary, Louisiana|
|Alexa Ballinger||Fall 2018||Population characteristics of red swamp crayfish Procambarus clarkii from two hydrologically different large river-floodplain systems in Louisiana|
|Kristen Chatelain||Fall 2018||Soil chemistry characteristics of recently restored coastal ridge habitats|
|Kellyn LaCour-Conant||Fall 2018||Vegetative propagation, fruit and seed morphology, and gametophytic self-incompatibility of Lycium carolinianumpopulations in coastal Louisiana|
|Justin Homer||Spring 2019||Assessment of habitat sustainability in a forested wetland receiving municipal wastewater|
|Adam Quade||Fall 2019||Long-term impacts of Deepwater Horizon oil exposure on salt marsh-stabilizing facilitation of southern ribbed mussels, Geukensia granosissma|
|Gabrielle Sisson||Fall 2019||Fishery-dependent stock assessment of crayfish in the eastern Atchafalaya River Basin|
|Sarah Fontana||Spring 2020||Growth and development of Spotted Gar Lepisosteus oculatus spawned out of season|
|Anthea Fredrickson||Spring 2020||Comparing trophic ecology and life history in the development of a stable isotope model based on non-lethal sampling for Spotted Gar Lepisosteus oculatus and Alligator Gar Atractosteus spatula|
|Rissa Inselman||Spring 2020||Community development, oyster density, and population growth on bedded crushed concrete as a function of cultch density|
|Olajuwon Jimoh||Spring 2020||Linking variation in belowground biomass to soil shear strength and carbon sequestration in Louisiana wetlands|
|Earl McNeese||Fall 2020||Tracking the movements of Bowfin Amia calva in the upper Barataria Estuary using radio telemetry|
|Megan Mire||Fall 2020||Effects, in vitro, of 20-hydroxecdysone and chrysene on hepatopancreatic expression of a CYP4 gene in the blue crab, Callinectes sapidus|
|Thomas Phillips||Fall 2020||Biodegradation of metribuzin under various electron acceptor conditions|
|Jacob Cortez||Spring 2021||Biodegradation of triclosan under various electron acceptor conditions|
|Jesse DuBose||Spring 2021||Characteristics of the geographic range, reproductive status, and predatory dynamics of Apple Snails Pomacea maculata in the Barataria-Terrebonne Estuary|
|William Heintz||Spring 2021||Growth responses of Avicennia germinans and Batis maritima seedlings to multiple concentrations of weathered light sweet crude oil applied differentially to soil and aboveground tissues|
|Osaze Osayande||Spring 2021||Lead inhibits exoskeletal calcification in the post-ecdysial blue crab, Callinectes sapidus|
|April Simmons||Spring 2021||Comparison of larval and juvenile fish assemblages between newly created marsh terrace habitat and existing marsh habitat|
|KristieRae Ellis||Summer 2021||Trophic ecology of gars (Lepisosteidae) in a Mississippi River floodplain|
|Benjamin Bates||Summer 2021||Measuring abundance of flora and fauna in a marsh terrace restoration project within the BTES, Terrebonne Parish, LA|
|Alexandra Alterman||Fall 2021||Demographics, distribution, and habitat use of box turtles (Terrapene carolina) within the chenier forest of Grand Isle, Louisiana|
|Frederick Davis||Fall 2021||Distribution and habitat assessment of crayfish in the Tickfaw, Tangipahoa, and Tchefuncte River basins, Louisiana|
|Katie Gray||Fall 2021||Population level characteristics of the Diamondback Terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin) in coastal Louisiana and the establishment of base-line data|
|Austin Ortman||Fall 2021||Effects of environmental hypoxia on Red Swamp Crayfish Procambarus clarkii life history, fecundity, and trophic ecology in the Atchafalaya River Basin|
|Alexandra Woods||Fall 2021||Interactions of wetland vegetation surface tissue with suspended microplastics in surface waters|
|Ashleigh Lambiotte||Spring 2022||Vegetation and biogeochemical responses to sediment diversion relevant innundation and salinity regimes in marsh sods dominated by Spartina patens, Spartina alterniflora, and Typha latifolia|
|Derek Sallmann||Summer 2022||Life history and trophic ecology of gars (Lepisosteidae) in two Mississippi River floodplains with comparisons to other Louisiana populations|
| Taylor Andrzejak||Fall 2022||Microbial ecology and the presence of antibiotic resistance in public boat launches of southeastern Louisiana|
|Casey Greufe||Fall 2022||Population genetic structure, prevalence of Rat Lungworm Angiostrongylus cantonensis, and ecomorphometrics in invasive Apple Snails Pomacea maculata in Louisiana|
| Coby Bernharthorton||Spring 2023||Investigating the effect of accrued wetlands on water quality, antibiotic resistant bacteria, and antibiotic resistance genes in the treated domestic effluent of Thibodaux sewage treatment plant|
| Lauren Eagon||Spring 2023||Zinc is incorporated into the exoskeleton during post-ecdysial mineralization and inhibits exoskeletal calcification in the blue crab, Callinectes sapidus|
| Shasta Kamara||Spring 2023||Comparison of finfish and crustacean assemblages among established marsh terraces, new marsh terraces and open water in a restored brackish marsh|
| Wyatt Voelker||Summer 2023||Using DNA metabarcoding to characterize the diet of the Rufa Red Knot (Calidris canutus rufa) at the Chandeleur Islands and Grand Isle, Louisiana|
|Dr. Christopher Bonvillain|
Director of University Graduate Studies
114 Kilgen Hall
|Dr. Ramaraj Boopathy|
Alcee Fortier Distinguished Service Professor
John Brady Sr. & John Brady Jr. Endowed Professor
216 Gouaux Hall
|Dr. Timothy Clay|
115 Kilgen Hall
|Dr. Allyse Ferrara|
Distinguished Service Professor,
Jerry Ledet Foundation Endowed Professor of
113 Kilgen Hall
|Dr. Quenton Fontenot|
Professor and Department Head
114 Gouaux Hall
|Dr. Katherine Galloway|
230 Gouaux Hall
|Dr. Gary LaFleur Jr.|
233 Gouaux Hall
|Dr. Giovanna McClenachan|
159 Kilgen Hall
|Dr. Rajkumar Nathaniel|
222 Gouaux Hall
|Dr. Himanshu Raje|
228 Gouaux Hall
|Dr. Justine Whitaker|
229 Gouaux Hall
|Dr. Jonathan Willis|
157 Kilgen Hall
|Dr. Enmin Zou|
Distinguished Service Professor,
Theodore Shepard Endowed Professor
226 Gouaux Hall
|Graduate Student||Advisor||Thesis Title|
|Annie Alexander||Fontenot||Comparing relative abundance among preferred, marginal, and poor habitats for invasive carp larvae|
|Rob Bergeron||Bonvillain||Absence of a riverine flood pulse on Red Swamp Crayfish Procambarus clarkii life history and fecundity characteristics in the upper Barataria Basin|
|Claire Boudreaux||Clay||Assessing population demographics and nesting ecology of Diamondback Terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin) within the Barataria estuary|
|JD Carrier||Bonvillain||Effects of chronic environmental hypoxia in the Atchafalaya River Basin on crayfish epigenetics, fecundity, and oocyte development|
|Kathryn Freeman||Bonvillain||Life history of the Pontchartrain Painted Crayfish Faxonius hobbsi, a species of greatest conservation need, in Louisiana|
|Ivy Hebert||Boopathy||Biodegradation of phenolic compounds from environmental bacterial isolates collected from Hurricane Ida sludge|
|Erik Johnson||McClenachan||Characterizing the emergent and submerged aquatic vegetation communities of restored ridges, natural ridges, and spoil banks in southeastern Louisiana|
|Tammy Johnson||Raje||The differential effects of T4 and MS2 coliphages on the expression of the genes responsible for biofilm formation of a pure E. coli biofilm|
|Connor Lee||Whitaker||Identifying freshwater mussel species in the Calcasieu and Sabine basins using environmental DNA and metabarcoding|
|Michelle Lignieres||LaFleur||Observing species abundance as an indicator of success to compare artificial terraces and natural marsh in a restoration project in Chauvin, Louisiana|
|Firoz Al Mamun||Zou|
|Elizabeth Myers||Bonvillain||Comparison of the littoral and pelagic aquatic faunal communities at Isle de Jean Charles, a degraded natural estuarine ridge in Terrebonne Basin, Louisiana|
|Alec Plaisance||Boopathy||Investigating the biodegradation of antibiotics by multidrug resistant bacterial isolates in Hurricane Ida overtop sediments in southeast Louisiana, USA|
|Carissa Thiel||Willis||Ecological characteristics and soil processes in terrestrial forest habitats on coastal ridges|
|Shelby Truckenbrod||Clay||Home range and habitat use of Diamondback Terrapins (Malaclemys terrapin) in Barataria Bay, Louisiana|
|Katherine Wright||Whitaker||Ecology and life history of Alligator Gar metapopulations in the Mississippi River basin and Gulf Coast|
Opportunities for more experience…in and out of the classroom.
There are three main types of assistantships available to graduate students:
Graduate Assistantship – This assistantship is offered through departments other than Biological Sciences and may involve working at the library, an administrative office, the university tutoring center, or another university department or office for 20 hours a week. The assistantship will pay your tuition and a semester stipend. The stipend amount may depend on where you work but is usually $2,500 per semester. More information can be found on the graduate assistants web page.
Graduate Teaching Assistantship – This assistantship is offered through the Department of Biological Sciences and is awarded based on availability and applicants’ GPA and GRE scores. You will be required to work 20 hours a week assisting with and teaching freshmen biology labs. You may begin teaching labs after you have completed at least 18 hours of graduate coursework, which is usually your third and fourth semester. The assistantship will pay your tuition and a $4,800 per semester (not including summer) stipend.
Graduate Research Assistantship – This assistantship is offered through an individual faculty member in the Department of Biological Sciences to work on a research project. The time required cannot be more than 20 hours per week and the pay depends on the research grant. Graduate teaching assistants may receive a graduate research assistantship, depending on availability, for the summer semester.
Contact Dr. Chris Bonvillain for more information.
Since our M.S. program began in 2002, the Department of Biological Sciences has graduated 125 students who are employed in various local, state, federal, private, and non-profit agencies and organizations, secondary schools and universities, and graduate and professional programs throughout the country.
Our M.S. alumni include:
- 30 graduates accepted to Ph.D. programs around the world
- 1 graduate accepted to medical school
- 1 graduate accepted to law school
- 2 Sea Grant Knauss Marine Policy Fellows
- 3 graduates that are faculty in the Department of Biological Sciences at Nicholls
- graduates from 32 states and 4 countries
Nicholls State University is located on the banks of historic Bayou Lafourche in the heart of the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary in Thibodaux, La. Thibodaux is a quiet town full of moss-draped oak trees and Cajun spirit. The area is surrounded by cypress-tupelo swamps that give way to fresh marsh, brackish marsh, and salt marsh as you travel down the bayou. Nicholls State University is the southernmost university in Louisiana and is only an hour and half drive to the Gulf of Mexico. Thibodaux may be a small town, but New Orleans and Baton Rouge are only an hour away.
The summers are warm and the winters are mild. Opportunities for fishing, boating, kayaking, canoeing, bird-watching and nature exploration are abundant all around Thibodaux.