Thanks for your interest in my lab. I currently have 6 PhD students in the lab. Two students will be graduating before the end of 2020 and two new students officially start in Fall of 2020. So the lab is relatively full and I am uncertain as to whether I will take on a new student for Fall 2021. I am still willing to talk to prospective students and assess whether or not its worth it for you to apply here, but its entirely possible that I won’t take new students. In addition to the graduate students I have 3 postdocs at the moment, and a number of undergrads… but of course all of us mostly work remotely these days, adding to the uncertainty about whether it really makes sense to add new students for Fall 2021. You can read about my current lab members under the “people” tab in the menu bar above.
If you are potentially interested in working with me for graduate school, feel free to email me an inquiry. To help me assess whether my lab and UCD might be a good fit for you, in addition to sending a CV or resume, its helpful for me to have a list of relevant coursework you took and your approximate GPA. The graduate programs I belong to at UCD do not require GRE Scores. Most importantly, I am interested in hearing about any research experience you have, especially any work that you led like a senior thesis, REU-type project, or other work where you were involved with many stages of the research from project design through completion. That said, I realize that not everyone has had those sorts of opportunities available to them, and so hearing about other formative research experiences you had working with graduate students or professors on their projects is also great to hear. All this will help me get a better sense of your background, including and especially your academic preparation and research experience and how you’d fit into my lab. The more specific you can be about what type of research interests, the better feedback I can give you about whether you might be a good fit for my lab. I don’t expect students to enter grad school knowing exactly what they want to do their thesis on, and even those that think they do know this usually change their mind. However, if you can articulate a question or problem you are interested in, at whatever level you feel comfortable, that will help me.
I can also tell you a bit more about what I am currently most actively working on. Right now, major foci of the lab include (i) adapation of marine organisms to changing environmental conditions through a mix of field experiments, lab experiments, and genetic and genomic approaches (mostly with seagrass, but some with other organisms), (ii) the impact that variation at the genetic and species level has on community and ecosystem processes (in seagrass and rocky shore seaweed communities), and (iii) plant-microbe interactions in the marine environment, including how both pathogens and beneficial microbes affect key foundation species (like seagrasses and seaweeds) and thus how they affect entire ecosystems. Some of my students work in these areas, bit others do not. Other than working in the sea, I don’t restrict my students to working on exactly the sorts of questions I am interested in, and indeed encourage them to pursue their own interests within the general area of community and/or evolutionary ecology. I mention this just to say that I’m not necessarily looking for students to “fit into” a specific project that I have going on, but rather to work within the realm of things that are going on in my lab and develop their own approaches and questions. The questions that interest me are fundamental ecological questions that transcend the marine environment, but I do work exclusively in marine systems. That said, its not critical to have extensive marine background prior to coming to my lab. What is important is that you have a burning desire to answer ecological questions, and are comfortable with the idea of working on those questions in marine environments.
For information on the specific graduate programs through which I take students, click here.
If you are looking for information on how to approach applying to graduate school, the graduate students in our program held a virtual “preview day” recently, and since it was all remote, they posted all the material here.