Research Interests

My research interests cover a range of topics in marine biology, limnology, and oceanography. Of particular interest to me is understanding the impacts of climate change on microalgae and improving/advancing ecosystem monitoring techniques. Through my academic and professional experience, I have developed a broad set of skills including experimental design, data analysis, and field experience. I have detailed below, the research I have conducted and projects I have been involved in. If you would like any more information please feel free to contact me through the form under About Me.

 
 
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Algal Ecology and Ecosystem Monitoring - PhD

My PhD entitled From Ecosystem to Cell: Assessment of a brackish lake systems and environmental drivers of algal autecology, was completed in the Algal Physiology Lab at Monash University in the School of Biological Sciences, supervised by Professor John Beardall and Associate Professor Perran Cook. 

My research focussed on understanding the effects of key environmental drivers (light, salinity and temperature) on various phytoplankton species in the Gippsland Lakes, a brackish lake system in SE Australia. I did this through the combination of both laboratory and fieldwork, examining phytoplankton growth and physiology responses to manipulations. I also led a project, collaborating with Monash Water Studies, and Centre for Biospectroscopy investigating the feasibility of Focal Plane Array FTIR spectroscopy as a potential tool for ecosystem and water quality monitoring.   

Grants and Awards

  • MGS and Faculty of Science Dean's IPRS PhD Stipend & Tuition (2014-2018)

  • Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment (2015, 2016, 2017)

  • VEAC Bill Borthwick Research Grant (2015)

  • Denis and Maisie Carr Travel Grant (2016)

  • Monash Graduate Research Travel Grant (2017-2018)

  • Monash Postgraduate Publication Award (2018)

  • Joanna Jones Student Travel Grant (2018)


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Ocean Acidification - BSc Marine Biology & Oceanography Honours

My honours thesis entitled The State of Ocean Acidification in a Pristine Fjord, in Bonne Bay, Newfoundland, Canada was completed at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. I was supervised by Dr. Kumiko Azetsu-Scott at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography. 

My research focussed on determining the baseline pH and calcium carbonate saturation state of the waters in Bonne Bay. Both the horizontal and vertical distribution of pH and calcium carbonate saturation state were examined. Given the profound importance of coastal areas to fisheries and other marine resources and services, it is vital to gain an understanding of how coastal ecosystems will respond to ocean acidification. This study provided both data and a first look into the inorganic carbon system the Bonne Bay estuary-fjord system.

Grants and Awards

  • The Canadian Associates of BIOS (CABIOS) Scholarship (2012)

  • Go Green Campus Challenge

  • Dean's List 2011, 2012 & 2013


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Ocean Acidification in the Arctic - Bedford Institute of Oceanography (BIO) 

As part of my Bachelor of Science Degree in Marine Biology & Oceanography, I took part in the Co-operative Education Program, which provided me with academic education and career related-experience. For several of my co-op placements I worked at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography as a research assistant under Dr. Kumiko Azetsu-Scott. My responsibilities included analyzing Arctic seawater samples for inorganic carbon parameters (DIC, alkalinity and pH) both in the laboratory and on numerous research cruises. 

Several research cruises that I participated in, include:

  1. Labrador Sea DFO Monitoring Research Cruise. The Labrador Sea Monitoring Program of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) collects and analyzes physical, chemical and biological oceanographic observations on a line of stations across the Labrador Sea.

  2. Atlantic Zone Monitoring Program (AZMP). This program collects and analyzes data from the continental slope and the deep waters of the northwestern Atlantic Ocean.

  3. Identification and Characterization of Benthic VMEs and EBSAs in Baffin Bay and Davis Strait, Sub Arctic/Eastern Arctic Research Cruise. Our group investigated the carbon dynamics, freshwater distribution and ocean acidification.

  4. Halifax Harbour & Bedford Basin Monitoring Program. Assisted with monthly collection of dissolved oxygen, methane, inorganic carbon parameters and physical data throughout the Halifax harbour.

I was also responsible for compiling and analyzing an inorganic carbon dataset for the Arctic Ocean, and mapping the data using ArcGIS. The maps that I created were then published in: Climate Change Assessment in the Arctic Basin Part 1: Trends and Projections - A Contribution to the Aquatic Climate Change Adaptation Services Program.


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Coral Reef Ecology and Climate Change - Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences

During the summer of 2012, I spent 3 months in Bermuda, at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOs), as an intern for Dr. Samantha de Putron. I assisted with the collection of field data by SCUBA and with laboratory-based tank experiments in both small and large mesocosms setups. The main focus of this research was the replication and manipulation of environmental conditions, such as ocean temperature, acidification, and nutrient supply, to study the physiology of corals and their symbionts. 

I also participated in the 3-week coral reef ecology course. The aim of this course was to study the biology and ecology of tropical corals and explore their response to environmental changes including those from projected global climate scenarios. The Coral Reef Ecology course at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences is an intensive, integrated program comprised of lectures, laboratory exercises, field (SCUBA) surveys and readings from the primary literature with attention given to active areas of research.

During my time here, I received my PADI Advance and Rescue Diver certification. 

Awards

  • The Canadian Associates of BIOS (CABIOS) Scholarship (2012)