Deep-sea hydrothermal vents play a pivotal role in heat and mineral transport to the global ocean. The vents are also host to a complex web of organisms with adaptations to the extreme conditions typical of this unique ecosystem. Microbial biofilms, or networks of microbial communities living together in a self-produced matrix, form the base of the food chain at deep-sea vents, providing carbon to higher trophic levels to consume. My thesis work investigates how these microbial communities differ across the extreme gradients of temperature, vent chemistry, and biological habitats that together form the dynamic environment found at deep sea vents.
I'll never forget the first time seeing the ocean. The sheer size, color and beauty of it was larger than life. I knew then and there that I wanted a career investigating the mysteries that the ocean still claimed. I had always been interested in aquatic life having grown up on one of New Jersey's many lakes and was fortunate to spend many summer days out exploring the plant and animal life hidden in the lake's depths. While completing my degree in Marine Science, I took a microbiology class which I was immediately taken to, so much so that I am now pursuing my PhD in microbiology. My current research takes advantage of both backgrounds, allowing me to investigate the microbial component of the oceans.
- 2010: B.S. in Marine Science, Rutgers University
- 2012-present: PhD Candidate in Microbial Biology, Rutgers University