Born and raised in New York, I am currently the main Coastie in the Townsend Lab. I grew up in the suburbs of NYC and spent five wonderful years attending college in Syracuse, NY at SUNY-ESF. Syracuse and Central New York hold a very fond place in my heart, and I sometimes will find any excuse to go back and visit. After getting my B.S. in Environmental Studies, I worked as a lab technician for a year in Maryland at UMBC. The job and location wasn’t exactly the right fit for me, and luckily Phil took me on as a student.
My education at ESF was without question an incredibly rich and unique experience which cemented my interest in ecology. I worked closely with Dr. Charles Hall (Charlie) and his wife Myrna while I was a student, and I consider myself blessed to have done so. Charlie taught me how to utilize a systems approach to problems, and I continue to be very interested in systems level thinking. As a graduate student here at UW, I am obsessed with trying to understanding photosynthesis and trying to model ecosystem productivity. This passion has lead me to my current research project; Hyspiri (see my research description for more information).
Outside of academic endeavors, I can be found watching baseball at a nearly fanatical pace. I’d argue that I’m one of the most knowledgeable minds on campus when it comes to the current day baseball. Beyond that I find myself spending a lot of time secretly trying to be a rock star and learning to play any instrument I can get my hands on. If any reader has a Gretsch Duo Jet they are willing to part with for free, I’d be eternally grateful. I’d write you a song or something.
My current research involves modeling photosynthetic parameters of plant vegetation; Vcmax (maximum rate of rubisco carboxylation) and Jmax (electron transport). Vcmax and Jmax play heavily into Farquhar’s model of photosynthesis, and so being able to better quantify Vcmax and Jmax in plants would allow for much better modeling of photosynthesis and productivity. Much of my research is related to the Hyspiri project and all of my fieldwork so far has involved collecting gas exchange and spectra measurements of vegetation in California.
The hope is to link leaf-level spectra measurements of Vcmax and Jmax to canopy measurements observed by AVIRIS pixels. If successful, hyperspectral imaging could then be used to estimate productivity much more robustly than current methods. See the Hyspiri Project description for more information.