Senior Personnel


Originally from the UK, I graduated with a BA in Zoology from Oxford University. I followed this up with a Ph.D. in Neurobiology and Behavior at Cornell University, advised by Stephen Emlen and Paul Sherman. From there I moved to a postdoc at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS), collaborating with Robert Warner and Philip Munday. Subsequently, I moved to a research position at the Estación Biológica de Doñana in Spain, in the group of Jordi Bascompte and Pedro Jordano. I am interested in using marine organisms as model systems to test the robustness of current theories in evolutionary ecology.

Pete Buston — Assistant Professor, 2010 - Present

Originally from upstate New York, I received my B.A. in Biology at Middlebury College in Vermont.  My previous research focused on using population genetic data and coalescent modeling to study fish population dynamics.  In the Buston Lab, I use the neon goby Elacatinus lori as a model system to investigate marine population connectivity and larval dispersal, applying direct and indirect genetic techniques, GIS analyses and simulation modeling.  I am broadly interested in population ecology, metapopulation modeling and genetics, and marine conservation.

After beginning life in London, Marian graduated with a BA in Zoology from the University of Cambridge U.K. (1998-2001). She followed this up with a PhD at James Cook University in Australia (2003-2007), advised by Philip Munday and Geoff Jones. From there she moved to a postdoc at McMaster University in Canada (2008-2010), collaborating with Sigal Balshine. She then spent two years in the Buston Lab using fishes as model systems to test key theoretical concepts in social evolution. In January 2013, Marian started a faculty position at the University of Wollongong in Australia.

Alissa Rickborn — Masters, 2011 - 2014

Originally from Arizona, Alissa graduated with a degree in Biology from Arizona State University in 2010. After graduation, she fostered her love for marine science by working as a PADI SCUBA Instructor in Honduras and Spain. In the Buston and Kaufman Labs at BU, she conducted research on the population ecology of the neon goby Elacatinus lori and its host sponges. Alissa graduated from BU in August 2014 and went on to work toward her Ph.D. in the lab of Bruce Menge at Oregon State University.

Jeremiah Seymour — Lab Manager, 2011 - Present

About nine years ago, I joined the New England Aquarium as a volunteer.  There, I was encouraged to go back to school and earn my degree.  In 2012, I earned my undergraduate degree in Psychology from UMass Boston and began a masters degree in Animal Behavior at Boston University.  Now, I am a full-time technician in marine husbandry, specializing in the establishment and maintenance of large-scale marine systems.  In my free time, I follow my passions for breeding marine invertebrates, underwater photography and SCUBA diving.  While developing my career as a marine biologist, I volunteer and work with misguided teens in the local community.

John Majoris — PhD, 2009 - Present

Originally from Pennsylvania, I received my B.S. in Marine Biology and Aquaculture from the Florida Institute of Technology. At FIT, I developed an interest in the behavioral capabilities of larval reef fish. In the Buston and Atema Labs at BU, I have recently developed a rearing protocol for two species of neon gobies, Elacatinus lori and Elacatinus colini, and I am now conducting lab and field based experiments to determine their orientation and navigation abilities throughout development.  My research interests include animal behavior, sensory ecology and phenotypic plasticity.

Tina Barbasch — PhD, 2013 - Present

I graduated with a BA in Neurobiology and Behavior from Cornell University in my hometown of Ithaca, NY. As an undergraduate, I studied sperm allocation and male competition in the spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum). After graduating in 2009, I joined the Peace Corps and spent 2 years in Morocco teaching environmental education and 6 months in Liberia teaching high school chemistry. As a graduate student in the Buston Lab, I will be using theoretical and empirical approaches to explore sexual conflict and sociality using the clownfish (Amphiprion percula) as a model system.

Originally from Barcelona, Spain, I graduated with a MS in Chemical Engineering from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia. I received my Ph.D. in Physical Oceanography at the University of the Canary Islands (2012), after combining my studies with a three-year appointment as a Research Associate at NOAA/AOML, the University of South Florida, and NOAA/SEFSC. I am currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Miami co-mentored by Claire Paris and Peter Buston. I am interested in modeling the linkages between atmospheric and oceanic circulation, and rigorously testing the predictions of these models in the field.

Rebecca Branconi — PhD, 2014 - Present

Originally from Italy, I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and Master’s degree in Animal Behavior from Universita degli Studi di Firenze, in Italy. I have always been interested in animal social behavior and for my undergraduate and masters theses I studied the social behavior of the paper wasp Polistes dominula. As A Ph.D. student in the Buston Lab, co-advised by Dr. Marian Wong in Australia, I will be using the damselfish Dascyllus aruanus as a model system to investigate the effect of social and ecological context on the formation and organization of social networks.