After taking his first oceanography class during his first undergraduate semester, David dropped physics for geology. He discovered his love for the plains, mountains, and big sky of Montana while attending geology summer field camp and moved west, earning a M.S. in glacial geology from the University of Washington and working for a non-governmental organization promoting renewable energy in Montana during the 1970s.
The early part of his professional career included stints with the State of Montana and consulting firms as well as earning a second M.S. degree, this time in hydrology and geochemistry, from the University of Montana.
For the past 25 years, David has been a research scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Helena, Montana. Preferring to choose projects that in some way help biologists better understand ecosystems rather than focus on a singular aspect of geology, he has worked on a wide variety of projects in Montana, the Rocky Mountains, and Yellowstone Park as well as in Costa Rica and Spain.
Although now “officially” retired, David is still an active researcher in his role as a volunteer scientist emeritus with the USGS. His current projects involve (1) age-dating the advance and retreat of glaciers that have flowed from Chile’s Northern Patagonia Icefield over the past 20,000 years, and; (2) assessing how climate change and shrinking glaciers are decreasing the delivery of nutrients essential to the marine ecosystem of the Bay of Alaska.