PhD, Marine Biology, University of Maine
MS, Marine Biology, University of Massachusetts (Dartmouth)
BA, Marine Biology, Troy State University
Having grown up in the Appalachian mountains of Pennsylvania and Virginia, I became interested in how life functions in the ocean. While in college in Alabama, I knew I wanted to work with marine invertebrates and their unparalleled diversity. My MS work in Massachusetts with fouling communities allowed me to gain experience with a wide range of invertebrates and I became extremely interested in ascidians and their reproductive strategies. So I came to Maine to work on this at the Darling Marine Center for my PhD.
My research interests are broad because there is so much about biology that is fascinating. Although my degrees are all in marine biology, I really consider myself to be an evolutionary ecologist who happens to work mostly in marine systems. I am really interested in sex. The diverse strategies species use to pass on their genes is amazing. Species have evolved advanced ways of maximizing their product for the amount of energy invested. Our economic systems could benefit from studying what these species have already mastered. I am also interested in conservation biology and learning how humans can use resources responsibly, while maintaining ecosystem function.
I primarily teach first-year biology and an upper level genetics course, and really enjoy the range of these courses. Teaching a broad first-year course allows you to explore new topics and strategies, trying to inspire students. Teaching a focused, intense, upper-division course means learning something in great depth and concentration. And of course, having a student in their first semester in college and again in their last brings a sense of satisfaction in seeing their development as a scientist and scholar.