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The Sensory Physiology and Sensory Ecology (SPASE) Lab

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The Sensory Physiology and Sensory Ecology (SPASE) Lab

Lab Members

Aran Mooney

Aran is interested in how animals detect the world around them. How they find food, communicate, navigate and avoid predators.  And how humans are impact an animal's sensory biology.  Our lab generally takes a bioacoutics approach to investigating these ideas but we are open to all sorts of integrative and comparative methods to get at cool research questions. We examined sensory biology in a range of taxa, from bears to fish, but we tend to focus on odontocetes and cephalopods.


Ashlee Lillis

Ashlee is Postdoc Scholar from NCSU. Her expertise is in larval reponses to sound.


Grad students

Max Kaplan (WHOI-MIT PhD student and former lab Summer Student Fellow)

As a SSF, Max studid the impacts of high CO2 levels and ocean acidification conditions on paralarval squid.  He measured impacts on development, morphology and behavior.  He's just formulating his dissertation ideas.  Max received his Bachelor's Degree from the University of St. Andrews.

Casey Zakroff (WHOI-MIT Joint Program Student)

Casey joined the Joint Program in the midst of his M.S. at King Abdullah University of Science and Techology in Saudi Arabia. He's our cephalopod eco-phsyiology guru. He is the PhD student lead on our squid OA project.

Tammy Silva
(Guest Studnet from UMass Dartmouth)

Working on odontocete bioacoustics, including Hawaiian spotted dolphins and odontocetes of Stellwagen Bank Nat'l Marine Sanctuary. Tammy is working in our lab (and the lab of Laela Sayigh) and earning her PhD from UMass Dartmouth.

Ian Jones (WHOI-MIT Joint Program Student)

Ian completed his B.S. in Marine Science at the University of Maine, and joined the Mooney lab as a graduate student in 2016. He is interested in studying cephalopod hearing abilities and responses to sound, and characterizing natural marine soundscapes using passive acoustic recordings.

Interns, Guests and Undergrads

Jessie Perelman (Research Assistant)

Jessie is a recent graduate of the University of Southern California and is helping our lab with various projects. Primarily, she is working on snapping shrimp acoustic behavior and squid response to anthropogenic noise.

Jason Dinh

Jason is an undergraduate from Duke University joining the lab as a summer student fellow in 2017.  He is working on the coral reef soundscape project and quantifying boat noise at acoustically monitored coral reef sites in the USVI.  


Chloe is the official lab dog and the unofficial mascott of our building and WHOI. Chloe specializes in sleeping and chasing tennis balls (she's WHOI Champion of tennis ball retrieving).  When not found at either of these activities, she's probably snuck off down the hall to beg for treats.  

Past Lab Members

Matt Long