I consider myself an ecology generalist. To me, this means that I am interested in multiple questions in ecology -- including behavior, species-interactions, community structure, and biogeography. My research includes the study of the evolution of populations, the impact of invasive species on native communities, climate change education, the biodiversity of ant communities and the resilience of forests to invasive pests (see research activities tab above).
Some of the questions that my students and I are currently asking with ants is: What is the baseline level of fluctuation in ant communities, and how does this baseline differ across habitats? Do trends in indices of species diversity and relative abundance correlate with trends in climate measures, soil properties, tree species and growth rate, phenology, litterfall, or changes in land use and presence of invasive species? To address these questions, we are conducting systematic collections on Unity College campus properties and other locations in Maine, and correlating biodiversity indices with environmental characteristics. Ants are a common and dominant part of most terrestrial ecosystems, thus how and why these communities vary in size, abundance, and diversity, are great ecological questions.
Along with ecology, I enjoy thinking about how people teach science. The pedagogy of science teaching is an evolving and exciting field. I enjoy team-teaching in learning communities, conducting service-learning projects, and have participated in an interdisciplinary mathematics and science course in a way that increases student grades and disposition in math.
In my role as Director of Undergraduate Research, I work avidly to increase the opportunities for Unity College students to conduct research. This program helps connect students with faculty mentors and supports the development of more opportunities for students on campus and off.
In my spare time, I play the fiddle and ride my horse, Lady.