Collecting invasive coral Tubastraea coccinea from oil platforms, Gulf of Mexico
I am an associate professor at the Annis Water Resources Institute - Grand Valley State University. I am a research academic studying climate change who has developed extensive experiences in flow cytometry, immunochemistry, cell biology, and “-omic” techniques associated with marine and freshwater habitats. My research focuses on the biological implications of climate change, such as the effects of warming temperatures on the spread of both invasive species and aquatic-born diseases and pathogens in aquatic habitats. Prior to my arrival in the Great Lakes, my studies focused on reef corals (shallow and deep-water), sponges, dinoflagellates, and other “microbes”.
I reign from northern Alberta (Canada) where most of my family are farmers / ranchers. Longing for excitement and a better understanding of water resources, I began commercial diving working in zero visibility and in depths of 200 m (~660 ft). Recognizing the delicate balance of human and environment, I retired my diving days to earn a BS and MS degree in marine biology at the University of New Brunswick, Saint John Canada followed by a PhD via a commonwealth fellowship to work on the effects of climate change on coral reefs in Australia. Prior to finishing my PhD, I was successful at helping write a grant to the EPA to fund my 1st postdoc at UConn, studying the effects of climate and pollution on microalgae in Long Island Sound. Shortly after beginning this 1st postdoc, I was awarded a Sir Isaak Walton Killam Memorial Scholarship for a 2nd postdoc studying deep-water coral genomics at Dalhousie University & the Bedford Institute of Oceanography (Halifax, Canada) and as a consequence, I worked both postdocs at the same time. After completion of these postdocs, I began an academic appointment at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi studying the effects of climate change on coral reefs. Today, I still study coral reefs and climate change but have expanded my interests of study to include how climate is affecting the Great Lakes. When not at work, I love spending time with my family - and each and every day I'm amazed at how fast the kids grow.