My research interests are broadly focused on understanding the interactions between genetic variation and physiological responses to the environment in aquatic and marine systems. Currently I am a Postdoctoral Fellow in Eric Peatman's lab at the School of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences at Auburn University, where I am investigating the molecular underpinnings of hybridization and species delineation in black basses (Micropterus spp.) Another great feature of the job is the close working relationship between the Peatman lab and Alabama DCNR and Georgia DNR for management and conservation of aquatic fish diversity.
I received my Ph.D. from the Committee on Evolutionary Biology at the University of Chicago, where I was a member of Cathy Pfister's lab. For my dissertation, I used reduced-representation sequencing, transcriptomics, and mesocosm experiments to study the population structure of the Olympia oyster (Ostrea lurida) and assess its adaptive potential in response to ocean acidification. Apart from developing this species as a new 'model' system for understanding the genomics of local adaptation in the face of gene flow, this work has significant implications for ongoing efforts to restore the Olympia oyster across its native range on the west coast of North America. I collaborate often with Steven Roberts' lab at the University of Washington and Puget Sound Restoration Fund at the K. K. Chew Center for Shellfish Research and Restoration. You can watch my dissertation defense here!
Improving open data access, reproducibility, and transparency in science is important to me, so I strive to publish primarily in open-access journals, host reproducible coding notebooks for published and ongoing work at my GitHub, and provide links to recent presentations and successful grant proposals on my CV. I'm also a co-founder of the MarineOmics working group (part of the RCN for Evolution in Changing Seas), which is working to disseminate robust genomic research practices and evaluate reproducibility in marine science.
I consider myself fortunate to have benefited from an early exposure to science, enthusiastic support systems, and strong female academic mentors. Many people are not afforded these advantages, so I strive to improve accessibility to science and science careers while promoting environmental stewardship. Some organizations I've worked with include Project Exploration's Sisters4Science, KICP's Life Long Learning program, and the University of Miami's Ocean Kids program.
When not playing with oyster (and now bass!) genes, I enjoy spending time with my family, running, yoga, reading sci-fi/fantasy, ceramics, and identifying species with my husband.
In May 2019 I had a stroke in my left parietal lobe, which temporarily affected movement and sensation on the right side of my body. My husband and I wrote an in-depth account about the experience and my recovery, where we also discuss some of the science behind what causes strokes, symptoms, and how the brain recovers (plus some cool GIFs of my brain!).