I am a faculty member in the School of Natural Resources. I am an aquatic ecologist interested in how elements move through streams, how they affect each other and how they are taken up and used by aquatic organisms. I explore the interaction between trace and common elements and the implications for ecosystem functioning. This research has taken me to many beautiful places, including northern California, Trinidad, Norway, the Colorado Rocky Mountains, the Ecuadorian Andes, and Yellowstone National Park.
At UNL, I have been working with Dr. Jess Corman and Dr. Steve Thomas on the StreamNet project, which is based in the Scottsbluff area and explores the effects of land use (e.g. CAFOs, row cropping, urban influence) on water quality. Another key water issue in Nebraska is the use of antibiotics in animal production and the application of antibiotic-containing animal waste to row crops. Dr. Thomas and I are collaborating on a project gathering baseline data on how these practices affect the concentration of antibiotics in Nebraska’s freshwaters. I am also interested in exploring how fertilization practices affect the retention and transport of toxic elements like arsenic.
At UNL, I teach Fundamentals of Environmental Sampling, Wetlands, Intro to Environmental Science (co-taught with Dr. Steve Comfort), Limnology, and Stream and River Ecology. I was a technician at UNL shortly after finishing my bachelor’s degree and was excited by the opportunity to return and work with the SNR community and the enthusiastic undergrads.
I grew up in Spearfish, SD. While skiing and hiking in the Black Hills instilled in me a love for the outdoors, I originally wanted to be a medical doctor. At St. Olaf College, I had my first research experience at the Angelo Coast Range Preserve in northern California and shifted career trajectory towards stream ecology when I realized I could make a living out of asking questions about the natural world.
Throughout my youth and adult life, music has been one of the most important parts of my identity. I mostly play the oboe and English horn (and almost pursued a career in performance!), and I grew up also playing the piano. During field experiences, maintaining oboe wasn’t always feasible, so I also picked up the guitar. When I’m not working or playing music, you’ll likely find me walking my two pups (one adopted while doing field work in Trinidad!) or on the climbing wall.