Current City: Boulder, Colorado
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
How did you get started in your field of work?
I began working in biology early on, initially in marine systems as a scuba diver and subtidal researcher. While in college, I worked abroad in Australia as a research diver and rainforest researcher, which led me toward working in freshwater systems as well as marine. One thing that struck me was the growing trend of invasive species and emerging diseases, not just in relation to humans but in wildlife as well, leading me on my current path.
What inspires you to dedicate your life to biology?
Biology is a fascinating quest to discover answers about the how and the why underlying the world around us. To me there is no greater pursuit that offers the same degree of excitement and intellectual satisfaction. Scientists are limited only by their imaginations.
What's a normal day like for you?
There is no such thing!
Do you have a hero?
What has been your favorite experience in the field? The most challenging?
Learning new systems—this requires a huge amount of effort to develop an understanding (and intuition) about which interactions are important, but ultimately this keeps things fresh and interesting. I am always excited to visit a new place and find out what's there.
What are your other passions?
Rock climbing, snowboarding, and trying to be a good dad and husband
What do you do in your free time?
I don't remember having any.
If you could have people do one thing to help conservation, what would it be?
To me, the most important thing people can do is to get their kids excited about biology. Take them to the ocean, the forests, or the jungle and instill in them a lifelong passion for appreciating and understanding the natural world around them.
Latest Explorer News
- Rock Art Helps Reveal Elk May Have Roamed Los Angeles
- A Talk Over Tea: Preserving India’s Indigenous Languages
- It’s Time for a Sea Party!
- November 16, 2014: Speed Climb 3,000 Foot Walls, Meet the Darwin of NYC’s Rodent World and More
- Hmong Use Tech to Keep Old Traditions Alive
- TODAY: Chat With National Geographic Explorer Enric Sala
- Queen of Bhutan Celebrates National Geographic’s Anniversary Coverage
- Conversation with Bhutan’s Young “Dragon King”
- The Flying Classroom Comes to Palau
- Mapping Global Fishing Activity for Anyone to See
Even after centuries of effort, some 86 percent of Earth's 8.7 million species have yet to be fully described, a new study says.
With head tentacles and iridescent "oars," the new sea species is "definitely flamboyant," one expert said. "I'm delighted by it."
How did this giant reptile go unnoticed by science?
In Their Words
Biology is a fascinating quest to discover answers about the how and the why underlying the world around us.
See images by Pieter Johnson of malformed frogs. Scientists like Dr. Johnson are trying to learn more about the causes of these abnormalities.
Meet Our Biologists
Datta explores the conservation challenges facing one of India's last vast tracts of wilderness.
Our Explorers in Action
Meet female explorers who have pushed the limits in adventure, science, and more.