Research

I've been fortunate to have a variety of research experiences in locations ranging from Southern California to Northern Germany. I've participated in field research in the Southern California Bight, the North Carolina Outer Banks, the Gulf of Maine, and the North Sea. Despite the fact that I get mildly seasick, I love being out on the water. The sea spray and ocean wind feel like home.

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HARMFUL ALGAL BLOOMS

Sep 2017 - Present

From 2017 to 2021 I worked with Drs. Dennis McGillicuddy and David Ralston of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution studying harmful algal blooms (also known as "red tides", or HABs) in the Gulf of Maine. I was originally drawn to this project because of its mix of biology and physics and because of its application to society: in 2016 there was an unprecedented HAB in the Gulf of Maine that led to shellfishery closures up and down the coast. My motivation is to try to understand these blooms so that we can better predict them in the future. In my research I used a combination of field data and several computer models to learn that HABs in the Gulf of Maine can be introduced from locations upstream, and that they might intensify with climate change. There is still much more to learn, however, and I am confident that this work has laid the foundation for future research.

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SUBMARINE GROUNDWATER DISCHARGE

Sep 2015 - Sep 2017

For the first two years of my graduate career I worked with Drs. Steve Elgar, Britt Raubenheimer, and Matthew Charette of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution studying submarine groundwater discharge from a barrier island to the open ocean. That's a long phrase that basically describes how groundwater can flow directly to the ocean via gaps between the sand. We collected samples from groundwater wells near Duck, NC, and estimated submarine groundwater discharge to the coastal ocean via hydrology equations and radioactive elements. While the field work on the Outer Banks was ideal (who doesn't want to swim between work shifts?), we concluded that the radioisotope method was inappropriate for a shoreline with big waves, and I discontinued my work on the project to switch to what would ultimately become my thesis work.

OFFSHORE WIND FARMS

Feb 2014 - Jul 2015

For a year and a half I had the incredible opportunity to live and work abroad in Northern Germany at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht: Center for Materials and Coastal Research under the advisement of Drs. Burkard Baschek, Holger Brix, and Jeffrey Carpenter. While there I helped spearhead the institute's research into the potential impact of large-scale offshore wind farms on the physical oceanography of the North Sea. I wrote an internal report to be used as reference material for future research and information for external collaborators, and helped plan and participate in one of the only research cruises to study an active offshore wind farm. I also collaborated on a paper that used a simple mathematical model to find that large-scale OWFs could vertically mix the North Sea. This work continues in Dr. Carpenter's lab today.

HARMFUL ALGAE IN

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

Jun - Sep 2013

Immediately after graduating from UCLA I secured an internship in biogeochemical oceanography studying Pseudo-nitzschia in the Southern California Bight (little did I know how my research would come full circle to study Pseudo-nitzschia in the Gulf of Maine!). I worked with Drs. Rebecca Shipe and Anita Leinweber at UCLA collecting and analyzing water samples for chlorophyll, phytoplankton abundance, nutrients, and alkalinity. Unfortunately, the Pseudo-nitzschia bloom that we anticipated didn't occur that summer, but the project was my first foray into oceanographic field work, and it set me on the path I'm on today!

AMPHIBIANS AND WATER QUALITY

Jan - Jun 2013

As part of the Environmental Science program at the University of California, Los Angeles, I participated in a senior practicum in which we worked as a group to conduct research for an external client and present the research to the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at the end of the year. Our client was the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA), and our faculty advisor was Dr. Felicia Federico. We investigated links between water quality and amphibian abundance in the SMMNRA and shared our report with the NPS to advise future policy and research. The final report is available online.