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Coastal and Marine Ecology

Advancing understanding of positive species interactions in coastal environments 

I am an Associate Research Scientist in the Grabowski Lab at the Northeastern University Marine Science Center, and serve as the Metro Boston Regional Coordinator for the MassBays National Estuary Partnership.


My research focuses on positive ecological interactions (facilitation and mutualism) involving coastal foundation species. I place particular emphasis on bivalve-seagrass relationships and the roles of chemosymbiotic bivalves (solemyid and lucinid clams), which are understudied contributors to primary production and biogeochemical cycling in soft-sediment marine ecosystems. I use survey data, field studies, and laboratory experiments to understand:

  • the effects of the life habits of bivalves on sediment biogeochemistry;

  • variability in the form and strength of positive species interactions in space and time;

  • the effects of positive species interactions on the resistance of foundation species to environmental stressors; and

  • how resource (e.g. nutrient) availability interacts with microbial diversity and gene expression in plant-animal-microbe symbioses to affect organismal and ecosystem functioning.

Ultimately, I seek to identify how and where this research may be applied toward coastal conservation, fisheries, aquaculture, and restoration goals.

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