My ecological work stems from my training in both the biological and environmental sciences and the liberal arts. I am an experienced scientist with a professional background as a wetland biologist and a wildlife biologist. I call myself an “ecologist” because my approach centers whole natural communities rather than single separate parts. In all my work, I consider both the biotic and abiotic parts of the whole, scaling from the needs of individual organisms all the way up to landscape and ecosystem levels. As an ecologist, I am deeply concerned about climate change and habitat loss. My love for the natural world and human connections to nature drive my passions for conservation and management of our natural resources.
I am skilled in field data collection, mapping and GIS analyses, data analysis in Excel and R, and the preparation of multimedia scientific reports and manuscripts. My specialties tend to be with plants, amphibians, and reptiles, though I am also knowledgeable about soils, birds, and mammals. Even if I haven’t listed a skill or a specialty here, don’t count me out or underestimate my ability to learn and deepen my expertise!
Currently, in 2022, I am involved in various ecological/biological studies. Through a contract with the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program (MA NHESP), I survey for blue-spotted salamanders (Ambystoma laterale) as well as other rare amphibians and reptiles. With the Rhode Island Natural History Survey (RINHS), I document the ecology and natural history of Quonochontaug Pond and Barrier Beach. I am open to other collaborations and contract ecological work!
From 2019 to 2021, I led research on the conservation and management of diamondback terrapins (Malaclemys terrapin) in Rhode Island, a state-endangered turtle found only in salt marshes. Alongside Dr. Nancy Karraker and Dr. Scott Buchanan, I collaborated with a local community-science conservation group to study the movements and habitat use by hatchling terrapins (age 0-1 year old). This topic was important for two reasons: 1) the lives of these hatchlings were largely a scientific mystery, but more urgently, 2) the community group worried that land management activities like mowing and tilling might be impacting these rare and vulnerable young turtles.
Through my research, we were able to document the locations of the hatchlings through the fall, winter, and spring, including a surprise that the hatchlings used either upland or wetland habitats during the winter, an unusual divergent pattern within this turtle family. Based on my findings, I developed site-specific management recommendations to help the land managers limit the impact of their management activities and continue the successful conservation of diamondback terrapins in Rhode Island.
For more details on my research, please watch this video presentation, and stay tuned for my forthcoming peer-reviewed manuscript publication.
To discuss my work or future collaborations, contact me!