Taxonomy ensures immortality in science. Even if you are wrong, you will live forever in synonomy. - Maureen Donnelly
I first discovered diatoms through an undergraduate research project on the effects of dam operations on diatom communities of the Colorado River. Then, my graduate work took me to the Everglades, where periphyton communities cover the landscape and provide habitat for fascinating diatoms, many of which are waiting to be described. My research is about understanding how aquatic microorganisms come together to form complex communities and how the communities interact with their habitat in freshwater ecosystems. Understanding microbial community assembly has important implications for predicting the effects of environmental change from regional to global scales. At the Cary Institute, I conducted research on the effects of multiple contaminants (nutrients, drugs, road salt) on algal and bacterial biofilm communities in urban streams. Currently, I am a postdoc in the EPA Office of Research and Development providing scientific support related to biological assessments and nutrient criteria.