PhD - 2010 - University of California, Santa Barbara
B.S. - 2002 - University of Florida
Tom received his B.S. in Zoology from the University of Florida in 2002. In 2010, he received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara under the direction of Russ Schmitt. Tom's dissertation focused on understanding the evolutionary drivers and ecological consequences of cooperation in a cleaner fish mutualism. After his Ph.D., Tom worked for two years as a post-doctoral associate with the Moorea Coral Reef Long-Term Ecological Research site before he joined the Burkepile Lab as a post-doc in 2012. Tom is now a Research Scientist at the Marine Science Institute at UCSB.
In general Tom's research is focused on investigating how disturbance and biotic interactions jointly influence community structure and dynamics of coral reef ecosystems. Most of his current work revolves around understanding the direct and indirect effects of herbivores on corals with the ultimate goal of informing management strategies in the Caribbean and Pacific. He is particularly interested in the role of parrotfishes on coral reefs and how functional diversity of parrotfishes is important for ecosystem function.