Thanks to Karen Hudson, VIMS Advisor, for managing the virtual program, teaching and all that she does for TOGA.

Virtual Annual Meeting – January 9, 2021


Thanks to Celia Cackowski, Vims Marine Education Specialist, friend and mentor to TOGA.
Thanks to Terry Lewis (left), president for 4 years,
innovator of  new programs,
inspiring leader, speaker, fund raiser,
will be mentor to new president Doug Schaefer (right). Congratulations to Doug.

2020 Recipient of the TOGA/VIMS Student Fellowship Endowment, Alex Marquardt

Hello TOGA members! Thank you all so much for your support of graduate students through the TOGA Fellowship! I’m Alex Marquardt, a new PhD student at VIMS. I completed my Master’s degree at California Polytechnic State University in May 2020. My Masters research focused on the population status, reproduction, and growth of Pismo clams in California. Shellfisheries are near and dear to my heart. I’ve worked for state agencies as a technician and biologist on shellfish monitoring programs, led shellfish research, and even worked at a local oyster farm on the west coast.


For my PhD research at VIMS, I will be investigating oyster life history and population dynamics in the Chesapeake Bay. One focus of my research is understanding the growth and mortality of oysters in their first 3-4 months after settling. Last summer, I initiated a project at two sites in the James River to monitor spat settlement throughout the summer and estimate growth.

This semester I’ve spent many hours at the microscope counting spat, taking photographs, and measuring individual spat. With this information, I will be able to generate a growth curve and estimate mortality in those first, critical months after settlement. I hope to identify optimal time windows or conditions that improve settlement success and survival. Next summer, I plan to expand this study to two additional rivers to see how oyster settlement, growth, and survival vary across space and time.

I am excited to share more about my research with you at the annual TOGA meeting in January! I am deeply grateful to be a recipient of the TOGA fellowship for the 2020-2021 academic year. Thank you all for your support!

Susan Maples,
VIMS Director of Development
Alex Marquardt, VIMS Phd Candidate, keynote Speaker.