Research Interests

I am an ecologist interested in describing, protecting, and teaching about the biological diversity and beneficial ecosystem functions of coastal marine habitats. Coastal oceans are simultaneously threatened by decreasing water quality, changing physical conditions, and overharvest of ecologically important species. I address the interactive effects of these threats through conservation-directed research and teaching at Florida Gulf Coast University.

I earned my doctorate in 2008 at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, where I studied the role of small, invertebrate grazers in mediating water quality and food-web changes in Chesapeake Bay eelgrass beds. From 2008 to 2010 I worked as a postdoctoral fellow with the Smithsonian Marine Station in Fort Pierce, Florida, comparing the food-web structure and grazing impacts on seagrass in no-take marine reserves versus areas subject to fishing. From 2010 to 2012 I worked at the Northeastern University Marine Science Center, managing an algal diversity manipulation at rocky intertidal sites from Massachusetts Bay to Northern Maine, and also investigating seagrass ecology. At FGCU I continue my seagrass research, integrating findings from Florida, Virginia, and New England. My scientific approach combines manipulative experiments with observations of spatial and temporal variation in natural communities, and I strongly believe in the complementary natures of experimental and descriptive ecological research.

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