I love being a biologist because I get to learn and teach about the incredible diversity of life and how it works. My teaching is centered on providing a solid foundation in biology to incoming freshman majors, as well as providing more advanced courses in conservation and genetics. I enjoy involving students in my research projects and helping them become confident, independent scientists. My research program focuses on in the ecology and evolution of aquatic invertebrates, a group of animals with an amazing diversity of life histories that are also very important to human society. My projects range from using high-throughput DNA sequencing technology to monitor biodiversity, to identifying larval invertebrate forms, to predicting how aquatic invasive species are transported around the world.
Over the course of my career, I've been lucky to work on variety of projects in a lot of different habitats all over the world. As a PhD student at the University of Chicago, I studied populations of an invasive ascidian (aka "sea squirt") in the Pacific Northwest. Then I went to Japan to study this native species in its native habitat as an NSF fellow. Next, I worked on the response of Blue crabs to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill as a postdoc at Tulane University. Finally, I returned to the Midwest as a Notre Dame postdoc, where I focused on predicting the transport and establishment of new invasive species into the Great Lakes. I am looking forward to continuing these projects and to developing new ones with GSU students!
Science has an amazing capacity to help our society. From curing diseases to better managing fisheries, the knowledge gained from scientific research is invaluable. However, it takes a lot of work and commitment from scientists to communicate their findings to a wider audience so that societal benefits can be realized. So, in addition to teaching and research, I put a lot of effort into translating my research. For example, my findings on the Blue crab larval responses to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill has helped local, state and federal policy-makers better assess the impact of this event. Currently, I am developing statistical tools to predict new biological invasions into the Great Lakes, and communicating these tools widely to regional and international policy-makers so that they can prevent new invasions. At GSU I hope to continue these efforts as well as to help students hone their science communication skills.
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