I started my research career at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign working in fisheries ecology. Specifically I was interested in factors affecting the vertical distribution of larval fish in Lake Michigan, and in turn how some of these factors affected the foraging rates of larval fish. During my first field season our research boat broke down leaving me without data for a year. While quite discouraging at the time, this break in my masters work allowed me the time to pursue my interests in ecological modeling. As a result of the modeling work I met Volker Grimm, who with little effort convinced me to move to Germany for my PhD.
In Germany I was one of 20 PhD students working in CREAM, an EU Marie Curie funded project aimed at linking chemical stress measured on individuals to effects at the population level (see Research page). I defended my joint doctoral degree at the Vrije University of Amsterdam and the University of Potsdam in the summer of 2013.
After my PhD, I began a postdoc with Roger Nisbet at the University of California Santa Barbara. At UCSB I am working in collaboration with NOAA and NASA on the project SESAME (Salmon Ecosystem Simulation And Management Evaluation). The goal of SESAME is to couple physical-biological simulations to produce key spatiotemporally explicit habitat variables in each system salmon inhabit: river, estuary, and coastal ocean. We use these habitat variables (temperature, flow, and food) to drive a Dynamic Energy Budget (DEB) model for Chinook salmon to explore how salmon grow from eggs to mature adults while moving across this complex landscape.