Emma Johnson

Mentor: Dr. Christine Angelini
College of Engineering
"Research gives me the opportunity to combine the math and physics of engineering and the nature aspect of ecology into a career. I plan to improve the well being of the planet by using the skills an engineer and I feel that research is the way to do it."


Environmental Engineering



Research Interests

  • Oyster Restoration
  • Salt Marsh Ecology

Academic Awards

  • HDR Engineering Scholarship, 2015
  • Top Undergraduate Poster at the North Florida Marine Science Symposium, 2016
  • Mr. and Mrs. W. A. Godron Engineering Scholarship Fund, 2016
  • University Scholars Program, 2016


  • Society of Women Engineers 


  • Florida Museum of Natural History

Hobbies and Interests

  • Reading
  • Nature Exploration

Research Description

Secondary Foundation Species Directly and Indirectly Alter Salt Marsh Ecosystem Structure and Function

My University Scholars project is about evaluating the role of mussel inhabitance on species biodiversity in Salt Marsh areas. It is observed that mussel aggregations (mounds) in Salt Marshes can create a nutrient-rich environment attracting several species such as snails, mud crabs, and fiddler crabs, while also enhancing the growth of Salt Marsh grass, Spartina Alterniflora. Previous work has been done by Kathryn Cronk (a former undergraduate student) on a large scale in Sapelo Island, GA, determining the role that mussel mounds play in Salt Marshes. In order to expand the scope of her project, it was suggested to survey the Southeast of the U.S. to assess whether her data can apply to a broader area. The survey, started in mid-August of 2016, includes coasts ranging from South Carolina to Florida. For each site, I look at a 2 meter by 2 meter area and take data on mussels, snails, crabs, grass, etc. I then evaluate my data using Excel and statistical programs to create graphical representations and calculate significance, respectively. With that, I can determine if there is a significant difference between species biodiversity on mussel mounds versus off mussel mounds.