I am an associate professor of oceanography at the URI Graduate School of Oceanography. My fieldwork to understand marine ecosystems has taken me to all seven continents and most of the oceans in between. As a biological oceanographer, I study plankton ecology and evolution. Ecologically important events like environmental adaptation, sexual reproduction, rates of migration and fluctuations in population size are recorded in the DNA of every individual. My approach is to identify and exploit the genetic variation that exists within and between individuals to examine how marine organisms respond to their environment. The beauty of this approach is that it provides insights into how past and current environments affect planktonic organisms, and also allows one to make predictions about how they may respond to future environmental change. Mentoring and teaching undergraduates and graduate students is an important component of my activities, and they routinely join me in the field. I am the director of the long-term plankton monitoring program in Narragansett Bay, a weekly sampling program that has been underway since the 1960s. I am also the science director of the Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental reporting and am dedicated to improving science communication. I received an undergraduate degree in aquatic sciences from Brown University and obtained my M.S. and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Washington with E. Virginia Armbrust.