I integrate across scales of organization and disciplines – ecology, physical oceanography, developmental biology – to consider how larval interactions with their dynamic environment contribute to species and ecosystem resilience. Each larva will experience a different oceanographic and community environment that will alter how it develops and how it disperses. Larvae can respond adaptively to their environments by altering development and growth trajectories – phenotypic plasticity. My research focuses on understanding the mesoscale and submesoscale oceanographic mechanisms that construct the larval environment, the molecular mechanisms underlying phenotypic plasticity, and how plasticity and oceanography interact to alter the dispersal of larvae. Each of these facets of my research are based within the context of understanding marine species’ acclimatization, adaptation and persistence in the face of environmental variability, stochasticity and disturbance. I work with marine invertebrate larvae – primarily sea urchins, corals, and gastropods – in the lab and in the field along the shores of the US East Coast, the coral reefs of the Pacific, to the eruptive depths of hydrothermal vents.
I was initally trained in marine biology by my parents, along the beaches and tidepools of Southern California, and then more formally at the University of California, Santa Barbara. I received my doctorate from the MIT/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program before seemingly leaving the ocean for a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institutes of Health. However, it was all part of the plan to bring more cutting-edge biomedical techniques to the ocean realm; and I returned to the Oceanography community as an Assistant Professor at Rutgers in 2013, after serving as a AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow and Biodiversity Advisor at the US Agency for International Development.
Ecological Developmental Biology (Sp15, graduate seminar)
Human Health and Biodiversity (Fa15, Byrne seminar)
Ecology and Evolution of Climate Change (Sp16, new graduate and advanced undergraduate course)
Oceanographic Methods and Data Analysis (New – Biology and chemistry focus, anticipated Fa16, undergraduate course)