Research

My research program synthesizes topics from three different research fields – ecology, evolution, and wildlife management. Simply put, I develop and test hypotheses about the way nature works, and then I apply these models in ways to sustainably conserve both organisms and ecosystems. Below I quickly outline relevant areas of my research, but I also include links to more detailed descriptions on my ResearchGate profile and to resulting publications! Also, check out my fieldwork page for a map of study sites, pictures, and videos from field trips!

Population ecology in Neotropical rain forests

For my dissertation, I tested and integrated three hypotheses describing bottom-up, top-down, and parallel population regulation of a model frog and lizard assemblage at La Selva Biological Station, Costa Rica. Project description

  • Bottom-up regulation of frogs and lizards (the litter-mosaic hypothesis)
  • Interactive effects of predators and resources on prey frogs and lizards (mainland-island model of anole population regulation) PDF
  • Conspecific attraction of poison frogs in tropical forests  PDF
  • Habitat-driven community assembly of glassfrogs PDF

Population ecology and conservation of amphibians and reptiles

Turtle are the most endangered vertebrate group on Earth, and I became particularly aware of this problem while living in Alabama, the home of the world’s highest turtle diversity in the Mobile Bay drainage of Alabama. To this end, I have engaged in demographic studies of three large turtles that are currently listed or being petitioned for listing under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). Project description

  • Demography and conservation of the Alligator Snapping Turtle (Macrochelys temminckiiPDF
  • Long-term population trends of the federally-endangered Alabama Red-bellied Turtle (Pseudemys alabamensis)
  • Demography and conservation of the Gopher Tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus)

Historical biogeography and systematics

I am also active in projects which develop and test hypotheses in phylogeography, historical biogeography, and systematics of amphibians and reptiles — while keeping a keen interest in how these patterns and processes influence conservation strategies. Project description

  • Systematics of Alligator Snapping Turtle (Macrochelys temminckiiPDF
  • Ecology, systematics, and conservation of Eastern Indigo Snakes (Drymarchon couperiPRE-PRINT
  • Phylogeography and evolution of the Red Salamander (Pseudotriton ruberPDF
  • Hybridization of Map Turtles (Graptemys sps.)  PDF1 PDF2