Some Current Projects
Generalized Functional Responses and Predator Diversity
Changes in predator diversity via extinction and invasion are increasingly widespread, often with dramatic ecological and socioeconomic consequences. Unfortunately, despite decades of research ecologists ability to predict how changes in predator diversity affects ecosystem function remains limited. We are engaged in NSF funded research focused on developing new theoretical, and statistical approaches that generalize predator functional responses to better predict predator diversity ecosystem function relationships.
Understanding ecological responses to climate change and sea level rise
Global climate change and other anthropogenic activities are having dramatic and accelerating impacts on habitats and the natural functioning of ecosystems globally. Because environmental change poses a threat to biodiversity in affected landscapes, understanding and predicting how species respond to rapid environmental changes is a sorely needed focal point for research. In general, it is assumed that as habitats change and become less suitable, organisms must either acclimate to the novel conditions, migrate/retreat to less affected habitats, adapt in situ, or be extirpated. My collaborators and I are investigating ecological and evolutionary adaptive responses by species and ecosystems to changing habitat conditions.
Intraguild predation and host parasite dynamics
Parasites and pathogens are critical components of food webs. Parasites can account for more biomass than free-living species in some systems. Trophic interactions among host species are often paramount for parasite transmission and for regulating both the hosts and parasites population demographics. However, much of what we know about parasite transmission in complex communities focuses on single-host parasites with direct life cycles, or on a single life stage of parasites that use multiple hosts. We are investigating how intraguild predation (IGP) among hosts affects parasites whose life cycles involve multiple hosts in sequence.