Phone: (510) 642-1391
Her research: "My research focuses on dark, low-oxygen, anchialine caves, in which a
marine layer rests beneath one or more isolated layers of brackish or freshwater. Most anchialine caves contain low invertebrates densities, yet some have inexplicably large biomasses of shrimp and remipedes, a rare crustacean found only in subtropical anchialine caves. My dissertation aims to integrate studies of geochemistry, microbiology, food web dynamics, and behavior to better understand whether chemosynthesis correlates with macrofaunal density and diversity as well as feeding behaviors in these extreme ecosystems."
Why she loves biology: "Although I have not always known I wanted to be a scientist, I have always enjoyed exploring nature and the underwater world in particular. It was this interest that led me away from literature during my sophomore year of college and into the study of coral reef ecology. To my delight and others' jealousy, coral reef studies required me to travel to Bermuda, the Caribbean and Australia, and to spend time SCUBA diving on their reefs. Even better, it allowed me to investigate questions that had not yet been answered and to put my curiosity about nature to work. Although I have moved to an enclosed underwater environment during my graduate studies, the same benefits of travel, SCUBA diving, and exciting intellectual exploration apply. At the moment, my passion lies in cenote research and I cannot imagine a better field in which to immerse myself. However, I am still curious about coral reefs, the deep sea, the Antarctic, and a plethora of other habitats, so who knows where I will dive and explore next. Then again, the nascency of cave ecological research leaves me and scores of other researchers with enough questions to last a lifetime."