I am a marine ecologist and I love the ocean! So while we do study a range of systems, the vast majority of our work focuses on near-shore and intertidal marine environments. Our lab focuses on two main research areas that frequently overlap. First, we study the energetics of marine animals under stressful conditions, focusing especially on the role of energetic tradeoffs in growth, reproduction, and injury recovery. Second, we study the role of individual behavioral and physiological variation in structuring ecological populations and communities. We primarily study crabs and marine mammals, two groups of marine generalist predators that, while very different, both experience energetic stresses in coastal environments and both display an astounding array of indivdiual variation. Our research generally focuses on individual animals, examining their morphology, behavior, physiology, and life history. We then scale up the information gained from this individual level to understand broader ecological questions within populations and communities.
Rapidly growing human populations are drastically changing coastal environments, and much of our work focuses on the responses of organisms to human impacts, such as climate change, species invasion, habitat destruction, fishing pressure, and pollution. The overarching goal of our research is to improve our ability to predict the responses of organisms, of populations, and of ecological communities to future human impacts. We use a variety of research techniques to achieve these goals, including field observations, field and laboratory experiments, physiological measurements, mathematical modeling, and computer simulation modeling. Overall, our work addresses basic ecological questions to improve our understanding of the natural world, and simultaneously tackles real world problems to enhance our ability to conserve and manage the oceans and the life found there.
Important notice for potential students: I am always looking for good students to join my lab. Interested students should e-mail me to discuss opportunities and whether my lab would be a good place for you.