I’m currently a first year Ph.D. student in the Division of Biology at Kansas State University, and I’ve long been interested in the mechanisms that generate the incredible array of biodiversity that we see around the world. From the deep sea to the summit of Mt. Everest, there are organisms with incredible adaptations that make them well suited to live there. Life has diversified to fill most niches in nature, and we even see repeated examples of organisms that live in extreme environments.
Somehow, organisms have adapted to live in conditions that are generally not conducive to life—from cripplingly high pressure at the bottom of the ocean to complete darkness in caves or even naturally-occurring toxic springs. I am currently trying to use extreme environments—specifically human-caused heavy metal mine pollution in rivers—to study the ways that fish can adapt and survive in this environment while few others can, using the Western mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis) as a model. Learning what makes these fish special is what drives my scientific passion.
If you’re as excited about evolutionary biology as I am, have a look around at this site. As my research develops, you’ll find all the details of my ongoing Ph.D. program, from research to outreach efforts to some of my vain attempts into photography. I’d love to hear what you think!