Graduate Students

Graduate Students

The Geological Oceanography Lab hosts several graduate students working on their M.S. in Marine Sciences under the supervision of Dr. Ivano Aiello. This includes postdoctoral students, visiting Ph.D. students, and undergraduates.

Tyler Barnes

Tyler arrived at Moss Landing Marine Labs in 2015 to pursue an M.S. in marine science. His thesis research assesses geomorphologic change on beaches in Monterey Bay using a terrestrial laser scanner (ground-based LiDAR that creates 3-D models of surveyed surfaces). Before Moss Landing, Tyler received a B.A. in environmental studies from the University of San Diego where he was first exposed to marine geology and research—his senior project investigated sedimentation in bays with coral reefs in St. John, USVI.

Not unlike most grad students, Tyler will be seeking employment as he finishes his thesis. So if you are looking for a researcher, educator, consultant, rock climber, or surfer send Tyler an email.


Greg Bongey
Greg is interested in marine habitat ecology and aims to better understand the role geologic processes play in shaping ecosystems. Such research is needed to predict how ecosystems will change with the projected increase in coastal sedimentation from climate change and anthropogenic activity. For his thesis, Greg is examining the effects of sediment scour on rocky-bottom benthic invertebrates, and how these effects vary with grain size and wave energy. 
Greg is originally from northern Minnesota, where frequent backyard visits from wild animals drove his interest in natural sciences at an early age. After graduating from Beloit College with a major in geology and a minor in biology, Greg worked at Bryce Canyon National Park, where he conducted an inventory of the Park's springs and assisted with micropaleontology research. He then taught English at Henan University in central China, followed by substitute teaching at elementary schools in Las Vegas. Since starting at MLML, Greg has worked as a benthic invertebrate ecologist for the US Geological Survey. Greg volunteers as an interpretive guide at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and as a diver for Reef Check California.
Kim Elson
While participating in the Williams-Mystic Maritime Studies semester program and working with a marine geologist in 2007, Kim realized she could combine her love of rocks and the ocean. After graduating in 2010 with a BA in geology from Carleton College in Minnesota, she worked at a National Park in Texas, went on a research cruise off the coast of South Africa, and then settled at a job in environmental consulting. After a few years on a large oilfield remediation project, she decided to return to the coast by way of graduate school, and joined Dr. Aiello's lab in 2016. She is interested in coastal restoration and will focus her thesis research on a salt marsh restoration effort in Elkhorn Slough.
Alan Gelber

Alan migrated to the Monterey region from spacious Montana. Having earned a B.S. in Geology from Montana State University in Bozeman, Alan went to work in the oilfields in North Dakota for 2 years.  Intrigued by the geochemistry of the core samples he was analyzing at various drill sites, he returned to school at the University of Montana in Missoula where he studied chemistry. He worked in Dr. Nancy Hinman’s lab studying and analyzing how organic matter interacts with different minerals using an XRD and SEM. He also worked in Dr. Carine Blank’s microbiology lab as a student research assistant working with various strains of Algae and analyzing the lipid and pigment concentrations. His current focus is studying the deep ocean sediments on the northwestern Australian margin. Since arriving at MLML, Alan participated as a sedimentologist on R/V Sonne which sailed along the western coast of Australia in the summer of ’17. 

Alan is a mountain man at heart but is surviving in the coastal environment. He has taken up scuba diving and is exploring the underwater geology in the Monterey Bay. His interests fall in the field of Geobiology and microbes that live with deep sediment and rocks. 

Jennifer Gonzales

Jennifer graduated from San Diego State University with a B.S. in geology and a minor in chemistry. As an undergraduate, she worked as research assistant in Dr. Carl Carrano’s inorganic biochemistry lab. Her senior thesis investigated the role of kelp forests on inorganic iodine speciation in coastal seawater using electroanalytical techniques. This opportunity introduced her to the field of chemical oceanography, or more broadly the marine sciences.

Since joining the geological oceanography lab in Fall 2016, Jennifer has participated as a sedimentologist on R/V Sonne which sailed along the western coast of Australia. Her research interests include paleoceanography and sedimentation in deltaic environments. For her thesis, she will conduct a provenance analysis on hemipelagic deep-sea sediments off the Sepik-Ramu river on the northern margin of Papua New Guinea.


Miya Pavlock-McAuliffe

Miya graduated from the University of Washington, School of Oceanography with her Bachelor of Science in 2016. Born and raised in Bremerton, Washington, she is passionate about the Pacific Northwest and loves the rain! She worked as a Data Technician at an oceanographic consulting firm her first year out of college and quickly learned she wanted to continue her education and enrich her career. Now pursuing a Master's in Marine Science from Moss Landing Marine Labs through California State University, Monterey Bay, she will be studying Coastal Resilience through a geological oceanography lens and is very interested in the physical interactions that occur in the coastal environment. Her hobbies include rock climbing, cooking, and trying new things.