I am an Assistant Professor of Biology at Clarkson University in New York, with a broad interest in marine ecology. I completed my B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Biology in New York at St. Johns University and Hofstra University respectively. I spent three years in South Africa, conducting doctoral research, which involved predicting the spread of a potentially invasive polychaete, Boccardia proboscidea on the southern African coast.
For my PhD, I developed an integrated approach that combined larval developmental experiments with population genetics to assess the species’ ability to become establish and expand its range beyond the known phylogeographic barriers in the region. My dissertation highlighted the advantages that larval polymorphisms (poecilogony) may confer on introduced species that exhibit this rare reproductive strategy along with emphasizing the importance of anthropogenic dispersal mechanisms for maintaining genetic connectivity among spatially separated populations. After my PhD, I completed a short post-doctoral stint at Hofstra University where I investigated the effect of hypoosmotic stress on the regenerative capacity of the invasive polychaete, Marenzelleria viridis. My current research involves a collaborative effort with researchers from Plymouth Marine Laboratory in the United Kingdom, to integrate a high-resolution ocean circulation-particle tracking model of the South African coast with population genetics. We are hopeful that this interdisciplinary approach will allow us to understand the extent to which natural dispersal contributes to genetic connectivity.
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