- Area of Study Marine Biology
I received my bachelor’s degree in ecology and evolutionary biology from Cornell University with a specialization in Marine Biology. Dr. Charles Greene and Dr. Bruce Monger of the Geology Department, now the more aptly named “Earth and Atmospheric Sciences” Department, advised my research project which used IDL programs to analyze ocean color data derived from the NASA SeaWIFS satellite. The research tracked the start of spring phytoplankton bloom events in the North Atlantic.
After graduating, I worked on two projects with Dr. Mark Bain at the, now closed, Center for the Environment at Cornell University. The first project studied the biocomplexity of Lake Ontario and its tributary rivers and bays. When the field season for that project came to an end I moved to a position on a project analyzing the estuarine environment along the eastern Hudson River, south of the George Washington Bridge. We spent many weeks aboard the R/V Acipenser, dodging ice flows and piling fields, trying to ascertain the health of inter-pier communities that had been damaged by dredging. This was balanced by lots of time in the warm lab; huddled over a microscope, identifying invertebrates to species, often by their number of sex organs. I then spent two field seasons working under Dr. Roy Stein at the Aquatic Ecology Laboratory at Ohio State University as the head technician on a walleye parental influence study on Lake Erie.
Over the years I have also been involved in oceanographic work, beginning as a hydrographer on the last Western Atlantic GLOBEC broad scale survey for NOAA with Dr. Peter Wiebe as chief scientist, aboard the now retired (and very seasickness inducing) Albatross IV out of Woods Hole, MA. I also served as the chief hydrographer on a Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution cruise from Newfoundland to Greenland and then to Iceland. My job just before joining the BU PhD program was as a research associate in the Physical Oceanography Department at WHOI. There most of my time was spent on the ARGO Float network and the remotely operated SPRAY Gliders. One of the greatest perks of this job was getting to launch and recover the gliders from a variety of vessels like the Sea Education Association’s sailing vessel SSV Corwith Cramer, commercial fishing boats like the MV Moreau out of New Bedford, and the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences’ RV Henry M. Stommel and RV Weatherbird II, including one cruise on the latter as chief scientist.
I am a member of Dr. Les Kaufman’s lab where I am analyzing the long-term dynamics of marine ecosystems in the Northwest Atlantic. Central to my research are the exploitation and conservation of two species; the Atlantic Cod (Gadus Morhua), a species fished in the region for hundreds of years, long before permanent European settlement; and the Atlantic Bluefin Tuna (Thunnus Thynnus), a fish that is principally flash frozen, shipped around the world, and consumed as sushi in Japan. My project however looks at more than just these two focal species and takes a more holistic approach to studying the region. I am trying to bridge the gap between basic science and the decisions that affect conservation and policy.
My hope is that my research will in some small way contribute to the creation of Ecosystem Based Fishery Management and Marine Spatial Planning for the area.
Since joining BU I have also served as Vice President and President of the Biology Graduate Student Association (BGSA), a great organization that brings together all of the disciplines under the Biology Department “umbrella,” allowing the sharing of research and ideas and fostering a sense of community. This past year I was a GLACIER (Global Change Initiative, Education, and Research) GK-12 fellow placed at the Graham and Parks K-8 School in Cambridge, MA. There I helped teach and enrich 7th and 8th grade science classes and curriculum, also serving as a role model and an example of a professional scientist. I look forward to the next school year where I will again be a GK-12 fellow in a middle school, however my placement has not yet been finalized.