My research has focuses on the molecular ecology and conservation genomics of exploited marine fishes. To achieve this, I use genomic data sets to identify patterns of connectivity and population structure, explore the interaction with and adaptation to the environment on a genetic level, and determine how this applies to marine conservation and management. I am especially interested in understanding how spatial hetergeneity of the landscape results in environmental pressures that shape genetic diversity among populations.
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Marine Genomics Lab, TAMUCC
PhD Marine and Atmospheric Sciences
Stony Brook University, NY
Bachelor of Biological Sciences
University of Constance, Germany
As a broadly-trained evolutionary ecologist, I have developed an extensive tool kit of molecular tools that allows me to address a wide range of questions and collaborate with scientists across disciplines. I am especially interested in pursuing projects with potential applications in aquaculture, management, and conservation.
Connectivity and local adaptation in marine fishes across their ranges
Population-level effects of an oil spill on genetic diversity of demersal fishes
Genetic diversity of small populations
DNA fingerprinting can be used to identify individuals and their relationships to each other with a variety of applications, including aquaculture.
Mixed stock analysis can be used to determine the contribution of individual rivers and estuaries that form the natal habitat and/or nurseries of juveniles recruiting to populations offshore.
Genetic barcoding can be used for species identification - even when the whole specimen is not available for morphological assessment.
My teaching philosophy in the lab and classroom can be summarized in three statements:
Learn to ask the right questions, not just to have all the right answers.
The bad new is, beyond getting good grades and becoming the reigning champ at trivia night, just knowing a bunch of things alone will not get you very far. Google already knows everything. The good news is that there is a reward for what you can do with what you know - the purpose of knowing things is being able to frame challengin, thoughtful, and interesting questions. That’s where science starts and the fun begins!
My goal is to facilitate building a framework of conceptual understanding to critically assess and organize new ideas and to analyze data, draw major conclusions, and interpret it in a meaningful way.
The best way to learn to do something new is to ‘watch one, do one, teach one’.
In the classroom ‘listen/read/study, discuss & apply, teach & explain’ is probably a more accurate description of this concept. Regardless, science isn’t really fun until you get your hands dirty and engage with the material. When it comes to ‘do one’ - never be afraid to ask questions or get a better background understanding if you don’t understand a certain concept or a protocol - “measure twice, cut once”. Then, once you’ve got something down there is no better way to test how well you’ve mastered it than to try to teach someone else: “If you can’t explain it simply, you haven’t understood it”.
Nobody is expected to not make any mistakes, everybody is expected to learn from them.
Especially in the lab mistakes are going to happen. The important thing is to use those mistakes to improve your troubleshooting skills and your protocol/workflow to make sure they do not happen again the next time around. Similarly, try to learn from other people’s mistakes - you’ll find you don’t have time to make them all yourself!