Intertidal ecology, ecophysiology, climate change
I am interested in organisms that live at the very edges of tolerable conditions: their behavioral and physiological strategies for optimizing existence in their environment and the impact on community ecology. Intertidal organisms exist in an environment that is both marine and terrestrial. They are known for their robust tolerance of physical stress. It is unknown whether the survival capabilities these organisms already possess will allow them to thrive with the intensifying extremes and fluctuations of climate change.
I study the intertidal whelk snail, Nucella ostrina. I have worked to characterize how this snail avoids temperature and correlated environmental extremes by altering feeding behavior throughout the tidal cycle. I explored feeding preferences in experimentally created field habitats and confirmed behavioral patterns using radio frequency identification (RFID) tags to track snail movements in their natural environment. I am also exploring thermal limits of N. ostrina, tidal cues that influence behavior, the variability of temperature in tidally controlled microhabitats, and the effect of ocean acidification on snail performance. My research is conducted at Friday Harbor Labs and at intertidal sites throughout the San Juan Islands.
Research Assistant, Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans (PISCO), University of California, Santa Cruz 1999-2009
Graduate Student, Moss Landing Marine Labs/San Jose State University 2005-2009
BS Marine Biology, University of California, Santa Cruz 2001
AS Biology & AA Spanish, Cabrillo College 1998