Doctoral Student
Carlson Laboratory

University of California, Berkeley
Department of Environmental Science, Policy & Management (Division of Ecosystem Sciences)

M.S., 2006, University of California, Davis
B.A., 1998, University of California, Berkeley


Research Interests:

I am a stream ecologist with a broad background in fish biology, aquatic insect taxonomy, bioassessment, and stable isotope biogeochemistry. I am particularly interested in applying the principles of biology, chemistry, and physics in an ecological manner. My main area of expertise is biochronology which is the use of biological structures (e.g., fish otoliths and scales) to estimate life history properties of organisms (e.g., age, growth, and migration patterns of fishes). As a graduate student in the Carlson Lab, I intend to build on this experience and answer some very important questions regarding the conservation of California’s native fish populations.


As an undergraduate at the University of California, Berkeley I worked with Dr. F.S. “Terry” Chapin III investigating carbon fluxes in the northern boreal forests of interior Alaska (Bonanza Creek watershed). After graduation I initially worked at the Harvard Forest in Petersham, Massachusetts where I continued my carbon budget work with Dr. Julian Hadley in an old growth eastern hemlock forest. This led to a position working with Dr. Jiquan Chen of Michigan Technological University* at the Teakettle Ecosystem Research Site of California’s southern Sierra Nevada mountains where I measured ground respiration and monitored microclimates throughout the mixed conifer forest. In 2001 I switched gears and began my work in aquatic ecology at Dr. Michael L. Johnson’s Aquatic Ecosystems Analysis Laboratory (University of California, Davis). After working in the AEAL for three years, I entered the ecology masters program at UC Davis with Dr. Johnson as my advisor. My research utilized otolith microanalysis to investigate impacts of high temperature on the growth performance of juvenile steelhead trout in the Navarro River watershed of California’s north coast. My first position after graduate school was with Dr. David Herbst of the Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory where I performed stream surveys and identified aquatic insect populations from a wide range of habitats in California’s Coast Range and Sierra Nevada mountains. In 2008 I joined the team at the Carlson Lab and worked as a laboratory manager for 1 1/2 years before beginning my doctoral program in August 2010. Please stay tuned for more!

* Dr. Chen currently holds a faculty position at the University of Toledo.