I am a marine ecologist who is committed to the use of rigorous experimental research both to tackle important applied questions and to develop ecological theory. My focus is on the dynamics of fisheries populations, especially abalone, but my work extends also to abalone aquaculture; and the fisheries biology of chondrichthyans (sharks and their relatives) in collaboration with Terry Walker, and on the effects of Ocean acidification on the formation of carbonate skeletons (shells) in marine organisms. My interests are broad: many questions about how the natural world works fascinate me, and I have published work for example on how sessile animal populations compete for space; how infauna are affected by predators; how animals can be aged; and escape responses to seastars. My most cited paper deals with how experimental treatments should be compared statistically. Current interests include how shell parasites interact with their hosts; how stress affects the immune status of abalone; what factors enhance collaborative management of fisheries; and how compensatory growth may affect fisheries managment models. Much of this work requires collaboration accross disciplines - integrated interdisciplinary research.
I grew up in Cape Town, South Africa, matriculated from Diocesan College (Bishops), and obtained my BSc at the University of Cape Town, including Maths, Statistics and a BSC honours in Zoology. After a year in the navy studying fouling organisms, I took up an offer to do a PhD on the Great Barrier Reef, supervised by Charles Birch at The University of Sydney. My research focused on the ecology of sessile organisms on Heron and One Tree reefs, supported by the Australian Museum. This research led to a postdoc with Prof J Connell in UC Santa Barbara. At UCSB I ran a Seagrant project to seed hatchery reared abalone onto reefs in the hope of enhancing the fishery, and also worked with Rick Osman on how the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station affe