1. What’s your role in the lab?
I am a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Miami Rosenstiel Marine School (RSMAS) and Abess Center as well as Director of the RJ Dunlap Marine Conservation Program. I oversee all our research, education, and outreach activities.My personal research centers broadly on the behavioral ecology and conservation biology of marine predators. My current and future research has three core themes: (1) understanding how predator-prey interactions impact individual traits, community structure and ecosystem processes through trophic cascades; (2) evaluating the ecological and evolutionary implications of variation in physiological and morphological adaptations on the movement ecology of marine predators; and (3) examining how coastal urbanization affects the behavior, ecology and fitness of highly mobile fishes.
2. Tell us a little about yourself.
I enjoy art in all forms from visual to performance. But most of all, I am a huge music fan and really enjoy experiencing live music. My favorite genre is alternative rock, with Pearl Jam as my all-time favorite rock band. I have been to over 30 Pearl Jam concerts.I also love coffee and do my best to have at least 3 cups per day.
3. How did you get interested in marine biology and conservation?Growing up in South Africa, my family use to vacation on the beaches and there I became fascinated with the ocean. I spent as much time as I could in and around water. Once old enough to dive, I then also spent as much time under the water as I could. I enjoyed science in school and so I worked hard to be educated in the marine science. When in college, I learned about the threats facing the oceans and then became motivated to pursue a career in marine conservation science and outreach.
4. What’s your favorite part about working in the lab?
My three favorite aspects of my job are:
1) Spending time on the water and frequently interacting with sharks and other amazing ocean creatures
2) Discovering new things about our amazing natural world
3) Sharing my passion with others and providing people will meaningful experiences in marine conservation science.