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.