My dream of becoming a marine biologist has been lifelong and steadfast. One of my first childhood memories is of a flipbook I made that guided the reader through the basics of plankton biology. From my 7-year old point of view, these mysterious organisms inhabited a seemingly alien world, one that was an endless source of kindling for my hopeless fascination. I jumped on every opportunity to read about sea creatures, see them in zoos and aquaria, and, if I was lucky enough, be among them in the waters that they call home. It became increasingly obvious with each passing day that I was destined to study marine biology.
I have been fortunate to realize my dream by pursuing an academic career in marine science. I can summarize my research interests in two overarching goals. First, I seek to investigate the biological processes that produce and maintain the immense diversity of sea-dwelling organisms. Second, I want to develop tools to aid in the discovery and description of new marine species. To accomplish these goals, I am combining emerging DNA sequencing technologies, theories on molecular evolution, and cutting-edge computational techniques to continuously push the boundaries of scientific inquiry. I hope that my research will help further conservation efforts by describing new species that will provide new insights into biodiversity that can guide natural product discovery.