METAMORPHOSIS...fascinates me. My PhD work focused on how alternative reproductive strategies in insects have evolved via alterations in reproductive development during metamorphosis. Since graduate school, I have examined metamorphosis in echinoderms (sea urchins, sea stars, brittle stars and their kin). Along with my collaborator Andreas Heyland, I have been characterizing echinoderm metamorphosis and studying the involvement of thyroid hormone, which represents an apparent example of parallel evolutionary acquistion of a metamorphic hormone.
SETTLEMENT...is the shift in habitat of a larva floating in the plankton to a juvenile on the sea shore. My collaborator Cory Bishop and I have been thinking a lot about this process, how it is properly regulated, and how exposure to anthropogenic pollutants -such as artificial fragrances and mercury- might interfere with normal settlement behavior. Recently, I have worked with collaborators Matt Ferner and Brian Gaylord, looking at how exposure to near-shore, high-energy turbulence can impact the settlement process.
OCEAN ACIDIFICATION...is a grave concern. I have experiments planned to examine the key stages of metamorphosis and settlement in the context of ocean acidification and other anthropogenic stressors.
--click here for a list of my publications--