My PhD thesis is looking at the community dynamics of parasites. In particular, I am interested in how the diversity of parasites might interact with the occurrence and severity of disease. I am using mathematical modeling and metacommunity theory to investigate patterns of regional abundance, species sorting, and community dynamics. My study system involves trematode parasites that infect Helisoma trivolvis.
Currently, we are partaking in a broad field survey across three counties, Santa Clara, Alameda, and Contra Costa, in California. We focus on small freshwater systems in the oak chaparral ecoregion, sampling for the abundance of four component communities: amphibians, snails, and their parasites.
My broad research interests cover disease ecology, landscape epidemiology, community ecology, biodiversity, herpetology, and ecological modeling. In the future I hope to expand my studies to include invasive species, conservation, and amphibian decline.