My research is motivated by my passion for all things relating to the natural world. Although most of my interests are focused on ecology and animal behavior, my general interests relate to the exploration of the environment in general.
In addition, I am interested in combining current theoretic models of connectivity with field research and controlled experiments. The goal of this research is to gain a better understanding of some of the unintended or unknown consequences of connectivity in order to better manage fragmented ecosystems.
Current Research System
I am focused on ecological problems, not taxa; my current research concentrates on species within the western mountain ecosystem. Specifically I am interested in the Chiroptera (bat) populations and their role in agroecosystems.
Though rarely recognized for the ways they help humans, bats benefit us by consuming millions of insects every night. Unfortunately, the survival of a number of bat species—including bats native to Colorado—are vulnerable from an expanding number of threats, including but not limited to habitat encroachment, disease, and human disturbance. Recent research is exploring vital bat conservation aspects, such as roosting ecology, climate factors impact on populations, and reproductive strategies.
However, this research has not addressed how bats are responding to an influx of novel food resources, from agricultural sources. Specifically, the role of agriculture crop pests as resource subsidies is of particular interest as there has been little investigation into the impacts of invasive species, such as crop pests, on native predators. Invasive crop pests often attain high abundances and as a result they may represent an important food source to native predators capable of exploiting them.
Determining this relationship is imperative as crop pests acting as resource subsidies is critical not only as a direct effect to bats as consumers but also as a determinant of food web dynamics and overall ecosystem health. This, in turn, is key to long-term conservation management of bats as well as an improved understanding of predator dynamics in an increasingly agriculture dominated landscape.
Such studies are often conceptually and methodologically difficult to implement and successfully study because of limited application in field techniques with obscure patterns and multiple stochastic properties. To resolve this problem I use a detailed quantification of the patterns of movement, reproduction, disease, and predator-prey interaction between the multiple trophic levels.