My formal training is as an evolutionary and behavioral ecologist, studying factors that cause spatial and temporal variation in abundance and reproductive success of birds. Over the course of my formal training, I acquired skills in the manipulation and statistical analysis of large data sets. My current work at the Lab of Ornithology is the natural result of my combination of interests in spatial and temporal variation in birds` life-histories, and skills in analysis of large data sets. Most of my current work involves using large-scale bird monitoring data collected by the general public in to detect patterns and make inferences about underlying ecological and evolutionary processes.
Specific biological questions currently under study (with collaborators) are diverse, and include:
- studying the impacts of a novel bacterial disease on the dynamics of a naive host species,
- examining phylogenetic constraints on ecological characteristics of North American songbirds,
- developing approaches to using data mining tools to identify potential environmental correlates of bird species' presence and relative abundance, and
- looking for long-term changes in morphology and over-winter survival of a suite of European songbirds.
Broadly speaking, all of these research questions have the objective of identifying the constraints that determine where species of birds do and do not live, which is of interest both from an pure research perspective, but also for conservation and management reasons.