Research Projects, Interests, and BackgroundAt VIMS, I work with Matt Kirwan studying the impacts of pant-soil feedbacks on future carbon accumulation in salt marsh under elevated temperature, CO2, and sea level by integrating 1) simple dynamic models, 2) complex dynamic models, and 3) experimental data. The simple models are theory-based, mechanistic models of plant physiology and soil biogeochemistry. The complex models forecast carbon accumulation in marsh and capture elevation-dependent, or eco-geomorphic, feedbacks. The data are from an ongoing marsh manipulation experiment at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center where temperature and CO2 conditions have been actively elevated in a brackish marsh.
I am generally interested in how different modeling approaches produce different insights into how ecosystems function and much enjoy conversations about modeling philosophy and the histories of ecosystem ecology and geomorphology. My PhD was in river ecosystem ecology, investigating the consequences of phytoplankton “growth-in-motion” during river transit on the spatial structure and function of river ecosystems. Before that, I got a masters in computer science and then worked as a professional data scientist on problems in avian informatics as part of the eBird team at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. There, I developed novel modeling approaches enabled by machine learning for 1) continent-scale species distribution modeling 2) acoustic detection.