Robert is currently studying for a Masters as part of the NSF-EPSCoR RI C-AIM project.
Why did you choose to study / research marine science?
I was born and raised in the Ocean State, and the bay and the Southern RI coast have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Since I’ve returned to Rhode Island after serving in the Air Force, that connection to the sea has only gotten stronger, and that’s why I’m here.
What is your research project about?
II seek to elucidate the relationship between the physical processes within the bay and transcription profiles of phytoplankton, how they lead to harmful algal blooms, and any potential preventative and/or mitigation efforts.
Interesting fact about yourself?
The Jedi Mind Trick doesn’t work; trust me, I’ve tried.
Welcome to our research group website! I am an ecologist with a background and active research career in the marine environment. I mostly work on reef formers, organisms that build structures that influence the surrounding environment.
I first got into marine biology when I did my undergraduate degree in the Scarborough Campus of Hull University. Even from a young age, I had always been fascinated by our oceans, and it seemed like a logical choice (after a decision not to pursue medicine, genetics or chemistry). I started my PhD straight after my undergraduate, with only a short summer as a rescue diver/Dive Master.
My PhD, somehow I managed to get one, was on interaction between the large brown alga Ascophyllum nodosum, the environment and limpets at Queen’s University Belfast with Profs. Christine Maggs and Mark Johnson (now elsewhere). Asco is still one of my most favourite things and my PhD was an absolutely incredible experience. I learned and toiled over manipulative experimentation, remote sensing, geospatial analysis and modelling. These skills allowed me to progress on to the next stage in my career.
I undertook several post-doctoral positions at the Scottish Association for Marine Science with Prof J. Murray Roberts (now elsewhere), focussing on deep-sea habitats, principally Lophelia pertusa. Something of a step-change in logistical difficulty when compared with Asco and limpets, I have now spent over a decade working in the deep ocean. The technical challenges and breathtaking species never cease to amaze.
Since those early days, I have progressed and now hold a Senior Lectureship in Marine Biology at Bangor University’s School of Ocean Sciences. I continue my research into both intertidal and deep-sea ecology, and have contributed to our knowledge of species distributions, technological/computational approaches, experimental ecology and so on.
I am a profoundly deaf cochlear implant user, fully oral and also a BSL user. In recent years, I have acted as a deaf role model for the National Deaf Children’s Society, and volunteer on many events with the NDCS during the year. I am also on the Welsh NDCS Advisory Committee.