I’m broadly interested in the intersection of ecology, evolution, conservation, and animal behavior. I use a combination of field experiments and modeling to understand how individual decision-making by wild animals can shape ecosystems and how these systems respond to human-driven environmental change. Much of my empirical work has focused on spying on fish in coral reefs, ‘Big Brother’/‘1984’-style to carefully measure (with the help of many cameras) how environmental inputs map onto behavioral outputs. My favorite study species (so far), the roving herbivores (e.g., parrotfish, surgeonfish, rabbitfish), are especially interesting to probe, because they perform the critical ecological function of controlling (by eating) algae, which can otherwise kill coral and degrade entire coral reef ecosystems.
High-throughput data-collection systems, field studies, animal behavior, mathematical models, computational models, decision-making of wild animals, wild animal decision-making, population dynamics, ecosystem state, tropical fish, fish in tropical coral reefs
EBIO 4200 - Marine Ecological Research
Examines marine community ecology and species interactions in tropical coral reef systems immersing students in field research, from conceptualization to final products. This course includes a significant writing component engaging students in original research experiences at an international research station. Weekly 1 hour meetings during the semester followed by an 18-day field international research trip immediately following finals week. Recommended prerequisites: EBIO 1210 and EBIO 1220 and EBIO 1230 and EBIO 1240 and EBIO 2040 and EBIO 3080.