In the summer of 2012 I completed my dissertation at RSMAS in the lab of Su Sponaugle. My dissertation work addressed the topic of population connectivity (i.e., the exchange of individuals among geographically distinct subpopulations), an issue of particular relevance in the marine environment where the majority of benthic marine organisms have complex life cycles and dispersal events occurring in the early life stages are nearly impossible to track. As the magnitude and direction of larval dispersal are shaped ultimately by larval distributions, growth, mortality, and transport to adult habitat, my dissertation examined these processes for larval reef fishes in the Straits of Florida to contribute to our understanding of patterns of population connectivity along a continental coastline.
As a post-doc in Bob Cowen’s lab I now work as part of a team processing ichthyoplankton samples collected after the Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill as part of the effort to assess the health of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem. In addition, I continue to pursue my research interests surrounding population connectivity and larval ecology.