Tom has been a research biologist at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center since 2001. Prior to that, he was a postdoctoral research associate at Brown University and taught courses in vertebrate biology, marine birds and mammals, and field ornithology at the University of Rhode Island, Northeastern Univeristy, and the Shoals Marine Laboratory. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Kansas, where he studied hybridization in seabirds along the Pacific coast.
Tom conducts research on a variety of seabird-fishery interactions. He has conducted field studies of avian predation on juvenile salmonids in the mid-Columbia River and has analyzed Caspian tern predation rates on juvenile salmonids in the Columbia River estuary. Tom is presently conducting field studies on piscivorous seabirds in Puget Sound, particularly rhinoceros auklets and glaucous-winged gulls; these studies include diet and productivity analyses, contaminant levels in their forage fish and juvenile salmonid prey, and tracking of individual foragers. Tom also works with colleagues on the impacts of derelict fishing gear on marine fauna of Puget Sound and the Northwest Straits. Tom also coordinated the 2005 update of the status of 27 ESA-listed evolutionarily significant units (ESUs) of Pacific salmonids along the west coast of the U.S.