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Current Research

My broad questions are on the evolutionary mechanisms which facilitate and enable major functional transitions, particularly the changes in locomotory function in moving from one medium to another (water to land, land to water, land to air and all variations in between). I am currently using marine and semi-aquatic tetrapods as models and the land to water transition to test my hypotheses.


USC has a plethora of paleontological resources within the university and nearby. The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHMLA) is across the street and the USC Paleosciences Research Consortium is comprised of 28 researchers and 25 graduate students across the Keck Medical School, Dornsife College of Arts and Sciences, and NHMLA.

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Mosasaur Pectoral Girdles

Project for SVP/PhD

Project will be presented at GSA and SVP 2019. I'm in the middle stages of analyzing the potential role of mosasaur forelimbs in swimming mechanics based on pectoral girdle structure. 

TBA

PhD Thesis

Chapters to be planned in the near future.

Methods: Fluid dynamics, biomechanics, functional morphology. 

Models: Secondarily aquatic marine tetrapods.

TBA

Collaboration on Secondary Aquatic Tetrapods

Sounds vague because it is!

Past Research

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Long-Necked Tanystropheids of the Southwest United States

Virginia Tech Paleobiology and Geobiology Research Group | Graduate Research

I described tanystropheid cervical vertebrae from Arizona and New Mexico. This tanystropheid marks the first hyper elongate necked form found in Western Pangaea contrasting with the Tethyan and marine environments of elongate necked tanystropheids such as Tanystropheus and Amotosaurus.

This research culminated into a poster at the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology's 76th Annual Meeting in Calgary. My poster was selected for the Colbert Poster session, which recognizes outstanding student posters based on submitted abstract.

I also presented this research as a talk at the Northeast Regional Vertebrate Evolution Symposium (NERVES) and the New York Institute of Technology in April 2018.

My co-authors and I will soon be submitting this work to the journal Paleontologia Electronica and, if accepted, this will be my first paper.

Organizing and Spatially Comparing Fossil Locations in the Lothagam Paleontolgoical Formation

Rutgers Paleoenvironmental Research Laboratory | Undergraduate Research

My senior project in the Paleoenvironmental Research Lab involved organizing and interpreting a fossil data sheet corresponding to several fossil collections gathered over several years of field work in the Lothagam Paleontological Formation in Kenya.  I interpreted the data, over 2000 rows worth, based on the abundance of various Miocene taxa from the region and performed spatial and distribution statistics on the fossil coordinates. This work culminated into a poster at the annual Aresty Research Center's Undergraduate Research Symposium.

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DNA Extraction, Amplification, & Tree Building

Rutgers Insect Phylogenetics Lab | Undergraduate Research

I conducted DNA based work in Insect Phylogenetics for nearly two years. It was my task to take specimens of caddisflies (both dry and preserved in ethanol) and gather DNA from them which could then be amplified. Under a microscope I held the specimen in one tweezer and pulled off a leg by the coxa with the other. I properly mixed the chemicals for DNA extraction, PCR, and gel electrophoresis to ensure that DNA had been successfully extracted. I learned molecular lab techniques, and contributed to the creation of phylogenetic trees using the sequences of specimens whose DNA I extracted and amplified.