I am interested in how biotic interactions shape ecosystems, as well as how abiotic factors, such as ocean acidification, influence organism interactions.  An important aspect of my research is using fossil data to trace ecosystem changes through time as a means of aiding in modern conservation efforts and climate change research.  Most of my research has focused on using functional morphology and morphometrics (using an organism’s body shape) as tools for investigating organismal responses to selective and environmental pressures.

Caught With a Mouthful
Interrupting lunchtime (sea star eating a clam)

My PhD project focuses on the influences of ocean acidification, combined with crab predation, on snail shell growth and anti-predatory defenses.  The project involves experiments and field work on modern organisms, historical collections, and Plio-Pleistocene fossil collections.  My research is currently funded by a Vanier scholarship (NSERC 2016 – 2019).

I am also involved with long-term community projects in the Devonian of the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin, as well as Michigan and Iowa basins.  Much of our current work focuses on the Waterways Formation (Late Givetian – Frasnian, Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada). My undergraduate and MSc research involved examining the relationship between encrusting organisms and their brachiopod hosts, as well as how the body shape and life orientation of the host influences patterns of encrustation (see Publications).

Doing fieldwork in Iowa

In addition to my work in the fossil record, I also conduct research in modern ecosystems.  I am currently involved with several long-term projects at Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre (Bamfield, British Columbia, Canada), looking at benthic intertidal community gradients, crab predation on snails, and organisms encrusting scallops (see Publications). I am also collaborating with members of the Bodega Ocean Acidification Research Group (Bodega Marine Laboratories, University of California Davis) to investigate the effects of ocean acidification on the biomechanics and ecology of marine organisms.

About to go dredging at Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre