I am a marine ecologist and the founder of EcoSea Expeditions. My research covers entire reef systems and investigates species interactions and anthropogenic (human caused) effects that drive changes within the system. My work through EcoSea is centered on marine conservation creating a sense of stewardship for the seas. I partner with citizen science groups, expedition companies, government agencies, universities, and small dive operations. My team turns ocean-loving tourists into citizen scientists that collect critical ecological data. Utilizing a workforce of enthusiastic tour groups enables us to continually document change in marine populations and assess the effects of conservation measures, anthropogenic impacts, and climate change. Working in citizen science also allows us to integrate local communities into the scientific process, communicate research discoveries to a broader audience, and provides a powerful tool in promoting adaptive management strategies for conservation and sustainability.
I began my career path in 1995 but my passion for the sea sprang from my first trip to the ocean. I was 10 years old and I was mesmerized by movement of the ocean's surface and the mysteries of what was below. I was nervous about being in the surf & the power of the waves but once I took that first step toward the unknown I started running! That day, I discovered the exhilarating serenity that would be with me during each and every visit to the sea.
I’ve spent countless (and wonderful) hours in & on the sea, worked in marine labs, sailed aboard ocean-going research vessels, and gained intimate knowledge both kelp forest and coral reef ecosystems. I have lived on various islands, traveled abroad for research, and called several countries home.
During my career I’ve had incredible adventures and incurred incredible set-backs. In the current era of budget cuts, hiring freezes, subcontracts, and severe funding competition I’ve decided to forge my own path and create a conduit for tourism to contribute to scientific research & marine resilience.
EcoSea's work in Palau is an extension of a project I started as a Peace Corps Volunteer. (service dates: June 2000 – Oct. 2002)
Peace Corps Palau
As a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Marine Resource Development and Conservation Program, I developed a long-term monitoring program for the Ngederrak Reef Marine Protected Area (MPA). Starting in 2000, I worked with a local research group to design a monitoring program that would assess fisheries targeted populations. By 2002, my work facilitated partnerships between marine law enforcement, local artisanal fishermen, and non-profit conservation groups. This ground work paved the way for subsequent research projects at local and international research institutes and continues to be an area of focus for local outreach programs.
In recent years I returned to Palau to assist and advise professors at the University of Southern California in replicating these surveys with student groups. Now I've turned my focus to continuing the work I started nearly 20 yrs ago; facilitating scientific contributions to adaptive resource management, building a global network of reef resilience ambassadors, and supporting the Palauan economy with sustainable impact travel.
Not only do I know the reefs, the biology, and the marine environment, but I know the people, culture, and politics of Palau. My background and experience provide the perfect combination for delivering an exceptional citizen science vacation and turning your data into meaningful recommendations for adaptive management.