My passion for diatom research began as an undergraduate at Ohio Northern University where I first examined the intricate and mesmerizing morphological structures of my silica-celled friends in Dr. Robert Verb’s lab. Diving into rock scraping and stream stomping, my research experience examining the impact of hemlock-dominated riparian zones on in-stream algal and macroinvertebrate communities solidified my intent to continue studying the ecological importance of diatoms and their use as bioindicators. For my Masters degree at Grand Valley State University under the direction of Dr. Alan Steinman, I investigated the impact of shoreline restoration on the macrophyte community in Muskegon Lake and evaluated the interactions between Vallisneria americana and its epiphytic algal community when exposed to nitrogen and phosphorus increases. Macrophyte and microbial mat interactions have remained my primary research interest as a PhD student in Dr. Evelyn Gaiser’s lab at Florida International University. Particularly, I am examining how hydrology regulates production by macrophytes and microbial mats in highly oligotrophic systems like the Florida Everglades and how the interactions between these two communities plays a role in their biomass allocation.