I grew up exploring the shores of San Francisco Bay, and have been interested in the natural history and systematics of intertidal invertebrates from the northeast Pacific Ocean ever since.
Much of my research centers on the nudibranch sea slugs, and includes investigations of their diet-specificity and large-scale, geographic patterns in their mode of development. More recently, I have been using historical data sets of abundance, combined with new sampling, to examine long-term changes in the fauna of the northeast Pacific Ocean, including those related to climate change and the explosive human population growth of southern California in the last half of the 20th century. Throughout all these studies, I’ve discovered new species of both nudibranchs and their invertebrate prey, helped resolve the identity of others, and have developed a special interest in our common, but relatively little known, intertidal soft corals.
I’ve also worked on invasive species and (1) participated in rapid assessment surveys for marine invasive species from California to Alaska, and (2) worked as a taxonomist identifying thousands of samples of nudibranchs and cnidarians by both the Marine Invasions Research Lab (Smithsonian Environmental Research Center) and the Marine Pollution Studies Laboratory (Moss Landing Marine Laboratories), as part of their on-going long-term surveys of invasive species in U.S. ports and bays.
Close to home in the Santa Ynez Valley, I have also been assisting the Cachuma Operation and Maintenance Board with their recovery efforts for endangered southern steelhead in the lower Santa Ynez River.