Hi there! I am a biological oceanographer and marine microbiologist. You can currently find me at the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO)‘s DC headquarters as a Science Communication Intern helping the organization with its science education, policy, and outreach goals.
I graduated with a BS in marine science and biological sciences from the University of Delaware in 2011. I did my honors thesis on larval fish transport in the Delaware Bay Estuary. I went on to complete my Ph.D. in 2019 at Rutgers University, working in the lab of Dr. Kay Bidle in the Department of Marine & Coastal Sciences. There I grew an appreciation for the microbes of the sea- tiny, single-celled algae, bacteria, archaea, and viruses that dominate the world’s oceans. Just to give you an idea, your average drop of seawater is teeming with about 1 thousand algal (aka phytoplankton) cells, 1 million bacterial cells, and 10 million viruses. Though the majority of these critters are harmless to you or me (with some notable exceptions!), the ocean’s microbial communities are extremely important in influencing ocean functioning, food webs, and climate.
I am particularly fascinated by microbial communication! My PhD research focused on understanding the role that reactive molecules and free radicals (particularly one called nitric oxide) play in the physiology and inter-species interactions of a cosmopolitan phytoplankton species called Emiliania huxleyi. E. hux is an ecologically important member of a group called the coccolithophores- phytoplankton that produce beautiful shells made of calcium carbonate. Free radicals are notoriously difficult to measure so I am also interested in working with new developing techniques to measure them, along with applying methods from other fields to marine systems.
While most of my work has taken place at a lab bench with cultured strains, my search for E. huxleyi populations in the environment has lead me to many amazing places in the world, including the Azores, Iceland, and Norway. My travels to natural ecosystems have given me a strong interest in exploring how microbial interactions at the micro-scale manifest on the global scale.