Field of Focus
  • Ecology
  • Coastal Development
  • Ecological Indicators
  • Harmful Algal Blooms
  • Hypoxia
  • Invasive Species
  • Pollution
  • Sustainable Development
  • Ph.D. in Biological Sciences, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 2000
  • B.Sc. in Biochemistry and Chemistry, La Trobe University, Victoria, Australia, 1990
  • B.Sc. (Honors) in Biochemistry, La Trobe University, Victoria, Australia, 1990

Research Interests

Phytoplankton ecophysiology, physiological adaptation, photosynthesis, biological oceanography, biochemistry and biophysics, molecular biology, plant physiology, evolution (look around the website for more specific information).

Teaching Philosophy: Teaching remains both one of my greatest challenges and one of the most rewarding aspects of my position. I endeavor to inspire students with my enthusiasm for the subject matter, foster critical-thinking and decision-making abilities with examples and innovative testing approaches as well as encourage students to become active and competent learners outside the classroom. At a campus dedicated to marine studies, undergraduates arrive eager to learn about marine mammals and fisheries science, but rarely consider the role of phytoplankton and marine plants (seaweeds, seagrasses, marshes) as the base of food webs. Teaching Marine Botany, a core course taken predominately by juniors and seniors, is my chance to bring them towards the “light”. By blending traditional and contemporary topics (e.g. eutrophication, climate change, invasive species) I provide students with tangible examples from their daily lives. This is often when the light bulbs are triggered, and I will pause lecturing to talk/debate/stimulate students along a line that has clearly caught at least some of their attention. Part of my philosophy is to also lead by example: hard work, dedication and persistence in performing of research and presentations, participation and publication, as key for success in science. The other part is participation: my students and I have a strong bond forged from many days at sea (>100), as well as time in the field and laboratory. I have had >40 undergraduates work in the laboratory, 14 graduate students and 5 postdoctoral fellows. One of the advantages to being on a small campus is that teaching-related activities are indeed not limited to the classroom, but occurs in the hallways, offices and open spaces around campus.