College of Biological Sciences
This researcher's interests lie at the intersection between ecology, evolution, behavior, and theory. Of particular fascination is movement: a behavior found in all organisms that is often highly adaptable on relatively short time scales, and influences the ecology of populations in a feedback loop. This research includes the following topics: ultimate drivers of long-distance movement and their taxonomic and geographic variation; how these drivers might influence the adaptation of movement strategies in response to changing conditions; the impact of movement on population structure, dynamics, and viability; the interaction between movement and other life-history strategies (e.g. hibernation); and the interaction between movement and the acquisition and transmission of parasites and pathogens.
This work uses primarily theoretical approaches (a combination of analytic models, and numerical and individual-based simulations), although always driven by the goal of gaining a deeper insight into the underlying biology. Although analytic models can provide a more thorough understanding of results, individual based models provide much more flexibility, especially for questions related to adaptive behavior. However, individual-based models can be quite computationally intensive, between simulating many individuals and running simulations with many different combinations of parameter settings. MSI resources make these computationally intensive methods possible.
Research by this group was featured on the MSI website in June 2017: Simulating Population Growth in Invasive Species.