I am an oceanographer, with a focus on biogeochemsitry and plankton ecology. Plankton are microscopic movers and shakers in the ocean. Phytoplankton (plant plankton that can photosynthesize) convert the sun’s energy, along with nutrients such as carbon and nitrogen, into consumable food for zooplankton (animal plankton that eat phytoplankton or other zooplankton); zooplankton can then be eaten by fish, molluscs, and even whales, thus entraining the energy of the sun into a rich and complex marine food web. This network of living things in the ocean impacts not only on seafood economies and the nutrition available to sea creatures, but also global nutrient cycles.
I use ecological theory, lab experiments, at-sea observation, data synthesis and computer modeling to study ocean food web dynamics, and how changes in the environment impact the network of marine life. It is important to me that my work contributes to the greater good of the Earth: humankind and whole ecosystems – plants, animals and biogeochemical functions – included. Whether this is done through education, policy, or contributing to the understanding of how this beautiful planet works, my ultimate goal is to provide knowledge and services that equip our society to live well and in harmony as part of the Earth System.