Where did you grow up?
I was born in Raleigh, North Carolina, and lived there throughout my youth, with the exception of a year when my family and I lived in New Zealand (I was four).
Where did you go to school and in what subject did you get your degree(s)?
I have a Bachelor's degree in Biology from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and a Master’s degree in Marine Biology from the College of Charleston (in South Carolina). I have a Doctorate in Marine Science from North Carolina State University.
How did you come to work at the Southeast Fisheries Science Center?
In 2002, I began my first post-postdoc job as a Fishery Biologist with the National Park Service, based at Biscayne National Park, which is south of Miami. In that job, I had an opportunity to collaborate on several research projects with researchers at the science center’s Miami facility. In 2005, a job opportunity arose in what was then the Protected Resources and Biodiversity Division, and I applied and was very happy to be selected.
What do you do at the science center?
I have recently served in roles as the Beaufort Fisheries Ecosystems Branch Chief and the Mississippi Laboratories Division Director. Following the center’s realignment, I will serve as the Director of the newly-formed Population and Ecosystems Monitoring Division. Our areas of focus include fishery-independent surveys and applied research on:
- Fish population dynamics (including the effect of habitat, climate, ecosystem, and anthropogenic drivers)
- Habitat ecology and restoration
- Fisheries and community ecology
Broadly, we will provide data, analytical products, research, and expertise to support NOAA Fisheries priorities.
What do you like most about your position?
This is an easy answer—the best part of my job is the people I work with. I appreciate interacting with, and learning from, the diversity of highly talented and dedicated people within the center. I am excited to have the opportunity to help to shape, support, and represent the important work that we do.
What do you like to do outside of work?
At the top of my list is spending time with family (wife Jada and 12-year-old daughter Bontu, and extended family) and friends. I try to remain active, and enjoy outdoor activities such as biking, running, hiking, soccer, Frisbee, and spending time at the beach—we live less than 5 miles from the beach.