Michelle was an undergraduate student in the FHL Marine Biology class.  She was particularly interested in studying the ecology of octopuses, and we worked together on a project studying the interactions between the giant Pacific octopus and copper rockfish.  We used time-lapse photography of occupied and empty octopus dens to quantify the frequency of fish visitation.  Our hypothesis is that shrimp, the primary prey of copper rockfish, are attracted to the sloppy feeding of octopuses, thereby attracting rockfish to the dens.  The results from this research were recently presented at the 2013 Western Society of Naturalists meeting.

shapeimage_1Ryan Knowles (2012)

Ryan was a student in Northeastern University’s Three Seas Program, and completed his Professional Science Master’s project with us.  He tested the effect of climate change on rockfish physiology.  He kept copper rockfish (Sebastes caurinus) in tanks with water set to match the predicted temperature in 2100.  Ryan tracked consumption rates, and took blood samples which he will be analyzing for heat-shock protein levels.

Shelley Johnson & Hannah Williams (2012)

shapeimage_4Shelley and Hannah were undergraduate students in the FHL Marine Biology class.  They were interested in quantifying the rate of predation on shrimp in high- and low-fish sites, and developed a method for securely tethering shrimp to an anchoring frame armed with a GoPro HD camera.  Unfortunately the fall storms of NW Washington prevented them from conducting sufficient trials to observe predation events, but their method is promising and our lab hopes to continue pursuing this project.

Audrey Olshefsky (2011)

shapeimage_5Audrey was a high school student and the winner of the 2011 FHL Young Investigators Prize, and worked with our lab on several different projects.  She focused on analyzing suction samples collected from my fish exclusion experiment.  She patiently sorted through numerous samples, picking out and identifying snails, crustaceans and worms.  She also found numerous benthic forams, and learned to photograph them with a SEM.

Walt Rung (2010)

Walt was a UW Fisheries student doing his undergraduate capstone project with our lab.  He tested a non-lethal method for sampling copper rockfish (S. caurinus).  Gastric lavage, or stomach pumping, has been effectively used in a wide variety of fishes, but never in rockfish.  Walt showed that it is a viable technique with large rockfish, an important result given then declining populations of rockfish in the Salish Sea.

shapeimage_3Kendra Baird & Nate Fuchs (2010)

Kendra and Nate were undergraduate students in the FHL Marine Biology class.  They also used gastric lavage for sampling Puget Sound rockfish (S. emphaeus) diet.  Kendra and Nate also compared their findings to other published records of Puget Sound rockfish diet, and found significant overlap.  Their results show that non-lethal diet sampling is a usable method.

Public Talks

FHL Sea Stars

I was invited to give a talk on my graduate research at FHL to a group of FHL donors, the “Sea Stars.”

Spring Street International School

I was an invited speaker and naturalist for the summer program in marine science held at the Spring Street International School in Friday Harbor, WA.

Shaw Islanders, Inc.

I was a guest speaker for a group of Shaw Island, WA, community members where I spoke about the research I have completed over the last several years, and the proposed research I plan to conduct along the Shaw coast.


Friday Harbor Elementary School

I worked with the FHL Science Outreach Program and Marine Biology class to visit three 1st grade classrooms, where we worked one-on-one with students to develop scientific observation and inquiry skills.

Garfield High School

shapeimage_7I volunteer as a chaperone and instructor on high school marine science field trips, including trips to Deception Pass to learn about marine biodiversity, Eastern Washington to learn about the geologic history of Washington State, and Maui to learn about coral reef ecology.

Washington State Ocean Sciences Bowl

I have volunteered for several years as a science judge at the Washington division of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl, a knowledge bowl for high school students.

UW Friday Harbor Labs Illg Lecture Committee 2008-Present

UW AAUS Diving Control Board 2006-2010


Subtidal ecology blog

Stories and photos from the Salish Sea.  I write about my experiences as a graduate student at the Friday Harbor Labs, the beautiful and unusual animals I encounter.  I try to present information about marine science and marine organisms that can be easily understood by a non-expert audience.

shapeimage_6Shifting Baselines & Puget Sound Partnership

I worked as an assistant and fact-checker on a public relations film by Shifting Baselines for the Puget Sound Partnership about the environmental status and conservation goals and directions for Puget Sound.

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