Ph.D. (2005), University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.
Application of phylogenetic methods and theory within a tectonic/paleoceanographic/ geological context to problems in evolutionary biology, particularly ecology, biogeography, and biodiversity.
Phylogenetics of Asteroidea and analysis of the relationships as they pertain to behavior, reproduction and feeding ecology. Current emphasis on the order Forcipulatida (including the Asteriidae and Zoroasteridae) and the Goniasteridae (Order Valvatida).
Alpha taxonomy, biodiversity, and systematics of world-wide Asteroidea. Current emphasis on deep-water and tropical species from the South and Central Pacific, Hawai'i, and off the coast of California.
Paleontology, evolution, and macroevolution of post-Paleozoic Asteroidea. Current emphasis on heterochrony and ontogeny in post-Paleozoic taxa and Cenozoic goniasterid faunas in the tropical Atlantic, including the origin of the Atlantic goniasterid fauna.
Biology, ecology, feeding behavior and functional morphology of asteroids, especially those in deep-sea habitats.