I recently completed an honours project (2006) in the Keough lab where I investigated the ways that benthic predators alter (or fail to alter) the structure of sessile assemblages by preying on newly settled recruits. The results of this study are being published in a forthcoming issue of Marine Ecology Progress Series. After completing my honours year I spent a short time working at an environmental consultancy (Australian Marine Ecology), where I was involved in surveys of the deep reef assemblages of Port Phillip Bay in conjunction with the Port Phillip Channel Deepening Project.
I am currently working as a research assistant for Mick Keough, and am involved in two projects. The first of these projects aims to systematically study and measure the early post-settlement mortality of sessile invertebrates in Port Phillip Bay. We are collecting data on a wide range of species, many with differing life histories, in an attempt to determine just how variable mortality is during this life stage and how this may impact on population demography. In the second of these projects we are studying variation in larval quality and its causes in the encrusting bryozoan Watersipora subtorquata.
I will be starting a PhD with Mick in mid 2007, but at this time my project is still very much in the planning stages. I am generally interested in looking at the broad scale processes that shape community structure. I also have a strong interest in sessile communities and it is likely that a future project will be an amalgamation of these interests.
SAMS MA and KEOUGH MJ (2007) Predation during early post settlement varies in importance for shaping marine sessile communities. Mar Ecol Prog Ser. In Press.
Edmunds M, Gilmour P, Power B, Shimeta J, Pickett P, Sams M , Baker K, Judd A, Wassnig M, Williams J , Crozier J, Stewart K, Monk J (2007) Port Phillip Bay Channel Deepening Project Suplementary Environmental Effects Statement - Marine Ecology Specialist Studies (Volume 9): Deep Reef Biota. Australian Marine Ecology, Kensington, Victoria.