I am Director of the NOAA Fisheries National Systematics Laboratory, and, as an adjunct faculty member at VIMS, teach graduate courses in the School of Marine Science. I am one of the many scientists from "affiliated agencies" assigned to the National Museum of Natural History, where we use the National Collections, libraries, and other museum resources for our research, primarily in systematics, and serve as agency experts on particular groups of organisms. We also provide curatorial support for the NMNH collections for the groups of organisms on which we work.
My current research activities can be summarized in the following two categories: the natural history of cephalopods and marine biodiversity. The research into cephalopod natural history includes
- characterizing the fauna in US waters, as well as in deep-sea and polar regions,
- determining evolutionary relationships among the neocoleoids (living squids, cuttlefishes, octopods, and their relatives), and
- working out the details of their early life histories.
My work on biodiversity has focussed on the interrelationships among systematics, fisheries agencies, and marine biodiversity. I am also participating in several projects exploring marine biodiversity under a broad effort known as the Census of Marine Life. I have pursued much of the research described above through a network of collaboration, including other members of my lab and agency, Smithsonian scientists, university faculty, and a variety of students and post-docs. I spend a lot of time at sea either leading or participating in deep-sea and polar expeditions on US and foreign ships using both submersibles and traditional net sampling to study deep-sea animals.