Mark received his BS in Environmental Sciences from the University of Massachusetts in 2009 and completed his MS in Environmental Studies at Florida International University in 2011. Mark's thesis work was conducted in a Mexican marine protected area (MPA) and focused on bridging the gap between the biological and social aspects of MPA management to improve coral reef conservation. Mark joined the Burkepile Lab in 2012 and finished his PhD at UCSB in 2019. Mark is currently a Coral Reef Scientist with the NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center.
Much of Mark's dissertation work revolved around understanding the important drivers of coral reef community recovery. For example, his research focused on the dynamics of coral competition, how coral density affects fish community dynamics, and the role of coral genotypic diversity in impacting coral growth and recovery from disturbance. The ultimate goal of this work is to help improve current methodologies for coral reef restoration to help make restoration activities more scientific and to help them take advantage of the most up-to-date science on how coral reef function.