PhD, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (2009)
Master of Environmental Management, Duke University (2001)
Bachelor of Arts, English, Duke University (1988)

Research Interests

I am a deep-sea biologist and project lead for the new Deep-Sea Coral Ecology Laboratory at NOAA’s National Center for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) in Charleston, SC. My primary research interest is in marine biodiversity, and the patterns and processes that underlie marine biodiversity. Deep-sea corals are model organisms because colonies occur worldwide from 50 to 8500 meters depth, and the coral branches provide habitat to fish, shrimp, crabs, and sea stars. Species discovery rates are high. The nature of the relationships between deep-corals, their habitat, and associated species is a primary subject of study at the lab.

The Deep-Sea Coral Ecology lab works in partnership with sanctuary and fishery managers around the US to help explore, discover, and understand deep-coral habitats and their stressor impacts. The research teams use submersibles and remotely operated vehicles to document deep-coral health and condition, and to establish baseline environmental conditions. Key environmental variables include temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, productivity, and aragonite saturation state. Short and long term changes in these environmental variables can affect habitat quality for deep-corals, so oceanographic variability in deep-sea habitats is another focus of study.