Past research experiences have led me to my current interests in fisheries management, marine temperate and tropical ecology, and both social and ecological aspects of marine management.
Marine Monitoring Team: Saipan, CNMI
I conducted invertebrate surveys on the island of Saipan as part of a long-term monitoring program. In addition to these diving surveys, I played an active role in non-point source pollution mitigation projects, beach restoration efforts and environmental education. Work being done with monitoring data in the CNMI taught me the importance of long-term observations, careful monitoring design, and the pairing of ecology and natural history.
US Peace Corps: Vanua Levu, Fiji
During my Peace Corps service I worked with nine Fijian village environmental groups that were interested in a diverse range of projects – composing piggeries, improving monitoring and enforcement of marine protected areas, mangrove replanting and upland reforestation, and environmental education. This work allowed me to see coral reefs and associated fisheries as part of larger social-ecological systems, a theme reflected in my work today.
Organization for Tropical Studies: La Selva, Costa Rica (NSF-REU)
Under the mentorship or Dr. Maureen Donnelly and Dr. Ralph Saporito, I conducted a field experiment to test for aposematic coloration in the strawberry poison dart frog, Oophaga pumilio. The experiment highlighted the importance of a specific species interaction, the likely result of co-evolution, in the larger tropical forest ecosystem.
Institute for Tropical Marine Ecology: Dominica, West Indies
I worked with Dr. Sascha Steiner to conduct a baseline characterization of coral reef ecosystems around the island of Dominica. Like all coral reefs, Dominica’s reefs are changing quickly in response to warming oceans and other human dynamics. In addition, Dominica’s reefs had not been characterized after the long-spined sea urchin, Diadema antillerum began recolonizing Caribbean reefs. Our work serves as baseline monitoring data that is used to better understand nearshore ecosystem dynamics in Dominica, an island that depends heavily on these ecosystems for both food and livelihood.
Laurie Eberhardt’s Lab: Valparaiso University, Indiana
I did a senior undergraduate thesis in Dr. Laurie Eberhardt’s lab at VU studying use of forest fragments in Northwest Indiana by Yellow-bellied sapsuckers, Sphyrapicus varius. I asked questions about how tree species diversity, forest fragment size, and proximity to other fragments impacts sapsucker presence and density.