My interests

I am interested in taxonomy, paleoecology, systematic, assessment and biogeography of diatoms. My research is directed toward understanding diatom biology and the ecological roles of diatoms on the planet. I am passionate about sharing diatom taxonomy and ecology with scientists, students and the public. I currently serve as the Chair of the Editorial Review Board for collaborative, electronic, peer-reviewed flora, Diatoms of the United States. I love to rock climb, cycle, run, garden and play the piano.

How I became a scientist

I have always been interested in life on earth. From an early age, I wanted to understand the planet. But in both undergraduate and graduate school I was discouraged – I did not see myself as fitting in. I had a teaching assistant who was a role model for me, and she gave me the idea that I could do science on my own terms. For years I thought that I would get “thrown out” for not being the right sort of scientist. BUT no one threw me out, and it seems I am being rewarded for my creativity.

How my work benefits society

A couple of my most satisfying projects have been 1) working as a mentor for high school students and 2) working on Diatoms of the United States, a web-based diatom flora that brings science to a broad audience.