Marine biologist and freelance writer

I am a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Auckland’s Leigh Marine Laboratory, in New Zealand.  In spring 2017, I earned my Ph.D. at Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University.  As part of Dr. Mark Denny’s research group, I explored the ways that small-scale environmental variation influences the foraging behavior of intertidal limpets.

Now, in collaboration with Dr. Nick Shears, Dr. Craig Radford and Dr. Simon Thrush, I am continuing to pursue similar questions in the subtidal lobster, Jasus edwardsii.  We are planning and executing an acoustic tagging study that will explore how lobster in the Cape Rodney-Okakari Point Marine Reserve move with respect to the rugosity of their surroundings, their patchily-distributed food resources and the boundaries of the reserve, beyond which fishing pressure is high.  In addition, we will be conducting a mass mark-recapture experiment to determine important demographic information about the lobster population in the reserve.  Both of these projects will broaden our understanding of lobster ecology, physiology and behavior, and provide information crucial to the conservation and management of the species.

Lobster movement ecology, energetics and conservation

No-take marine reserves were first established in New Zealand in the 1970's, and were intended to protect populations of commercially and ecologically valuable species, such as snapper and spiny lobster. However, lobster populations within northern New Zealand's marine reserves are in decline. In this project, my colleagues and I explore how lobster movement ecology and energetics may play a role.


Intertidal temperature variability

Increases in global air and sea surface temperatures are expected to have dramatic effects on the abundance and distribution of species in the coming years. Intertidal organisms, which episodically experience temperatures at or beyond their thermal limits, provide a model system in which to experimentally investigate these effects. In this area of my work, my colleagues and I determine how intertidal communities will change through space and time as they become exposed to future enironmental conditions.

The roles of competition, behavioral plasticity and personality in limpet foraging

Determining how animals move, and why they go where they do, can be challenging, especially for large organisms that inhabit and travel across relatively large spaces. In the intertidal zone, organisms are small, and their habitats are relatively small in extent. As a result, accurate, detailed data can be collected, and used to characterize the movement ecology of intertidal organisms. As part of continuing work from my doctoral studies, my colleagues and I describe limpet movements in the field, and explore how those movements are affected by biological and physical factors.


Contact Me

160 Goat Island Road
Leigh, New Zealand 0985

+64 09 923 1725

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