Project Coordinator:


Troy Alphin, 910-962-2395


  • M.S. Marine Biology. UNC Wilmington.
  • B.S. Marine Biology. UNC Wilmington.
Coming Soon...Biography!



Volunteer Coordinator:

Northern Coastal North Carolina


Marc Turano, PhD, 919-513-0122


  • Ph.D. Zoology. NC State University.
  • M.S. Mariculture. Texas A & M University-Corpus Christi.
  • B.S. Marine Biology. UNC Wilmington.

     Dr. Marc Turano has been a Mariculture and Blue Crab Specialist with North Carolina Sea Grant since 2001. His program involves both extension and applied research. His extension efforts focus on hybrid striped bass production, the blue crab fishery, soft crab production, and larval oyster settlement. Dr. Turano also administers the Blue Crab and Shellfish Research Program, a state-funded competitive grant program for applied research. This program offers a unique opportunity to work with commercial fishermen, fish and shellfish culturists, and regulatory agencies. Prior to joining Sea Grant, Dr. Turano worked as an extension agent and marine aquaculture specialist at Brunswick Community College. He expanded the extension outreach program at Brunswick from three counties and five farms to include eight counties and thirty farms. He is a member of the North Carolina Aquaculture Conference committee, a board member on the North Carolina Shellfish Growers Association, and serves on the advisory board for the Carteret County Community College Aquaculture Program.


Volunteer Coordinator:

Central Coastal North Carolina


Jay Styron, 910-279-4686


  • B.S. Marine Biology. UNC Wilmington.

     Jay Styron has worked with oceanographic programs at UNCW for the past 18 years. He started his career with UNCW’s NOAA funded National Undersea Research Center where he worked out of Key Largo, FL as well as Wilmington, NC. In 2008, Jay changed careers within the University and is now the Director of Marine Operations. In 2006, Jay started Carolina Mariculture Co. in Cedar Island, NC (which is where he grew up). Carolina Mariculture Co. specializes in off-bottom oyster production for the half shell market. The primary goal of Carolina Mariculture Co. is to produce high quality seafood while not being detrimental to the environment. Carolina Mariculture Co. is a member of Carteret Catch, a grass roots organization devoted to promoting local seafood.


Data Coordinator-Volunteer Coordinator:

Southern Coastal North Carolina


Sharon Tatem, 910-962-2325


  • M.S. Biology. Old Dominion University.
  • B.S. Biology. Old Dominion University.
  • B.A. Speech Communications. George Mason University.

      Sharon Tatem began her career in biological sciences in 2000, with a strong background in public communications from her collegiate years at GMU. In 2006, she joined the Marine Mammal Lab at UNCW as an Aerial Observer to identify and protect populations of the North Atlantic Right Whale, returning as the Aerial Coordinator in 2008. She joined the BEL at the Center for Marine Science (UNCW) in 2007 to assist with data reports management, statistical analyses, and field efforts. In 2009, she rejoined the BEL as the Oyster Spat Monitoring Data-Volunteer Coordinator. Through her current work with the BEL and past graduate studies at ODU, she has over five years of experience in species level taxonomic identification of benthic invertebrates, including use of various sampling protocols in marine, estuarine, and fresh water environments. In addition to her graduate studies, she taught Biology and Chemistry to high school students at Cape Henry Collegiate, Va. Beach, VA. She also assisted in the management of a water quality monitoring program, as well as a multi-refuge research program evaluating the assessment of water height changes on benthic invertebrates and plant composition at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Va. Beach, VA.


Past Data-Volunteer Coordinators:


Melissa Mitchell


  • B.S. Marine Biology. UNC Wilmington.


Heather Stoker


  • B.S. Marine Biology. UNC Wilmington.
Coming Soon...Biography!


     Heather Stoker worked part-time with the BEL at the Center for Marine Science (UNCW) for four years as a lab and field technician. During her last year with the BEL, Heather assisted Troy Alphin and Sharon Tatem in organizing and coordinating volunteers for the Oyster Spat Monitoring Program. Heather currently works part-time as a supplemental instructor for Cape Fear Community College, leading study and discussion groups for Marine Studies classes, including Marine Biology, Marine Vertebrate Zoology and Marine Invertebrate Zoology. In addition, Heather works as a contractual biologist for the NC State Sea Grant Division. Last year, she worked with North Carolina crabbers on two Sea Grant research projects for the Blue Crab Research Program. This entailed first hand interactions with crabbers, data management, and report writing. Heather continues to conduct research for NC Sea Grant on two new blue crab projects for which she co-wrote the grant proposals. On the personal side, Heather has been photographing and writing about the animals in her first salt water tank (from a naturalist’s perspective), and plans to start kayaking and become fluent in French.



Benthic Ecology Laboratory:
Professor and Chair-Biology and Marine Biology


 Martin Posey, PhD


  • Ph.D. Biology. University of Oregon.
  • B.A. Zoology. UNC Chapel Hill.
CLICK HERE for Biography.

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More BEL Laboratory:


  • Troy Alphin-Research Associate, PhD Student
  • Russ Barbour-Senior Research Technician
  • Sharon Tatem-Research Technician
  • Anne Markwith-Graduate Student
  • Corey Novak-Graduate Student
  • Ted Wilgis-Graduate Student
  • Chuck Wilson-Graduate Student
  • Chris Swanson-Research Technician
  • Megan Rudolf-Cape Fear Marine Tech Student
  • Daren Baker-Undergraduate Student
  • Lucas Couch-Undergraduate Student
  • Samantha Ehnert-Undergraduate Student
  • Myles Fenske-Undergraduate Student
  • Jeff Flood-Undergraduate Student
  • Jennifer Herbig-Undergraduate Student
  • Kristine Hill-Undergraduate Student
  • Katherine Johnson-Undergraduate Student
  • Heather Page-Undergraduate Student
  • Logan Robles-Undergraduate Student
  • Ashley Whitt-Undergraduate Student

     Anne Markwith, UNCW BEL Graduate Student, Collects
Oyster Condition Information at Hewletts Creek.
Coming Soon...Images and Link to Benthic Ecology Website!


Spat Rack Design

Jim Swartzenberg - J & B Aquafood

SPAT-TERED Logo Design

Melissa Mitchell

Database and Web Design

Timothy Henkel, PhD

 Image Taken by Volunteer, Paul Reinmann, at Site N6.


 Image Taken by Central Coordinator, Jay Styron, at Site N13.


Oyster Spat Monitoring Program
Benthic Ecology Laboratory
Center for Marine Science
University of North Carolina Wilmington
5600 Marvin K. Moss Lane
Wilmington, NC  28409

Phone:  910-962-2325
Fax:  910-962-2410