Office: Greeley Laboratory, Room 125
Phone: (203) 432-5321
Fax: (203) 432-3929
|College of William & Mary
||Forestry & Env. Stud.
||Forestry & Env. Stud.
I am broadly interested in the intersection between ecology, evolution and human
modification of the landscape. A growing body of research provides evidence of
rapid evolution: the potential for species to show evolutionary responses to
environmental changes in timescales relevant to ecological processes. Natural
selection can be particular intense in response to human activity. Beyond
contributing to the 'proof of concept' aspect of rapid evolution, I hope to
add to our understanding of the relative importance of ecological and
evolutionary dynamics in population and community level responses to
environmental changes. I am also interested in ways that evolutionary
responses can enhance or impede ecological responses and vice versa.
I work with freshwater zooplankton communities to tackle these research aims.
Zooplankton resting egg banks will play an important role in my investigations.
By hatching animals from different time periods in the sediment record we can
reconstruct both ecological and evolutionary trends that have occurred in a
I'm just getting started developing my research program, so expect more to come!
My master’s thesis at the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies addressed the impact of nonnative Phragmites australis, an aggressive invasive wetland plant, on native bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) larval performance. Taking an empirical approach, I asked the following questions: 1) Does nonnative Phragmites australis impact native bullfrog larval growth, development and survival rate? 2) Specifically, do these performance parameters differ among tadpoles fed a diet of Phragmites detritus compared with deciduous leaf litter detritus? 3) Have bullfrog populations breeding in ponds where nonnative Phragmites is present evolved adaptations to its effects on larval development? Complementary field reciprocal transplant and laboratory common garden experiments suggest a positive influence of Phragmites on bullfrog larval performance, with no evidence of local adaptation in response to these effects.
As an undergraduate I developed interests in aquatic and marine ecology and global change. My first exposure to research addressed the impact of boat traffic on Hawaiian humpback whales behavior. Other projects included an analysis of competing biogeochemical pathways along a depth gradient in a salt marsh (Edgewater, MD) and a study on the impacts of building residential and commercial buildings in a landscape dominated by karst topography (York County, VA).
A three year stint in Washington, D.C. working as an environmental science policy program assistant and conference coordinator exposed me to the role that science can and does play in decision-making processes at the national level. The following two years I worked as a park naturalist in Arlington, VA. There I fine tuned my appreciation of natural and human history, education and restoration.