Cassie Gurbisz

Associate Professor of Marine Science

On Sabbatical 08/01/2023 - 05/31/2024
photo of Dr. Cassie Gurbisz


I specialize in coastal ecosystem ecology, which emphasizes holistic analysis of our environment. It involves integrated investigation of living and nonliving components of ecosystems, how those components interact, and how those interactions affect ecosystem structure and function. Broadly, I aim to understand why shallow-water habitats change and how those changes affect nutrient and carbon cycling in estuaries. I mostly focus on seagrass and submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV), but I also dabble in oyster reefs and salt marshes. I tend to work on applied projects that are relevant beyond the research community by, for example, investigating how humans affect valuable natural resources or how living resources affect flows of matter and energy in estuaries. A lot of my research takes place in the field - I love getting students out on the water to explore and develop practical hands-on skills.

Prior to coming to SMCM, I was a postdoctoral fellow at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center in Annapolis, MD. I have also worked as an environmental educator on a remote Chesapeake Bay peninsula for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and an ocean science education program coordinator at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science Horn Point Laboratory in Cambridge, MD.

Areas of Research Specialization

  • Coastal and estuarine ecosystem ecology
  • Seagrass ecology
  • Biogeochemistry


  • Ph.D. in Marine, Estuarine, and Environmental Sciences at University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, 2016
  • B.S. in Environmental Science and Studio Art at Dickinson College, 2005