Faculty and Staff

Kassandra Dudek, PhD

Kassandra Dudek, PhD

Resident Lecturer in Marine Resource Management and Lead Faculty
Turks & Caicos Islands
B.S in Biological Science (Genomics)
Ph.D. in Environmental Life Science
SFS 3131 Marine Megafauna Ecology and Conservation
SFS 3530 Tropical Marine Ecosystems: Monitoring and Management
SFS 3740 Marine Resource Management
SFS 4910 Directed Research
Back to All Staff

Faculty Profile

As a marine microbial ecologist, I specialize in the study of microorganisms that live in the ocean and their interactions with their environment. My research historically focused specifically on the “plastisphere,” which refers to the microbial communities that colonize plastic debris in the ocean. I am interested in understanding how these communities form, how they function, and what their ecological impacts are on marine ecosystems. Through my research, I have also studied the different types of plastics that end up in the ocean, how they degrade over time, and how they are ingested by marine animals. I am also interested in the economic and social impacts of plastic pollution on coastal communities that rely on healthy oceans by looking into microplastic contaminated seafood.

Academics & Research

Research Interests

  • Marine Microbial Ecology
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Fishery Science


Microbial colonization of microplastics in the Caribbean Sea



Biotic and abiotic factors affecting microplastic degradation and deposition.

Oral Presentation at Ocean Sciences Meeting 2022

Marine microplastic-attached bacterial communities as a function of plastic polymer types, exposure time, and geographic location.

Oral Presentation at Aquatic Sciences in Limnology and Oceanography 2021

Microplastics, plastic pollution, and global human health.

Invited guest lecture at McGill University. Montreal, Quebec, Canada 2020

The microbiome of marine microplastics.

Invited speaker at Center of Fundamental and Applied Microbiomics (CFAM) Seminar Series 2020. Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ.