Marine Environmental Biology
Wai's interest in marine organisms was sparked in the biodiversity rich waters of Singapore. Her early research experience included biodiversity and coral recruitment surveys on coral reefs. After completing a B.S. in Biological Sciences from the National University of Singapore, she moved to Wilmington, NC to study how sponges differentially allocate their resources to growth, reproduction and producing chemical deterrents to predation. There, she obtained an M.S. in Marine Biology from the University of North Carolina, Wilmington. At USC, she works on speciation genetics of the copepod Tigriopus californicus in the lab of Suzanne Edmands. She wants to investigate the role of environmental differences as a driver of incipient speciation between isolated populations along the Pacific coast of North America.