Effects of landscape changes on biodiversity-
The combined effects of habitat loss and fragmentation are thought to be among the greatest threats to the world’s biodiversity. I am very interested in examining how animals respond (i.e., altered densities/movements or behavior) to changes in the landscapes they inhabit. I am particularly interested in how animal movements are altered in these disturbed landscapes and how altered animal movement/behavior/densities are linked with ecosystem function. I am investigating the mechanisms underlying gene flow and stability of ecological networks in disturbed landscapes.
Drivers of species distributions-
Identifying how the major drivers of species distributions (e.g., climate, land use, species interactions) interact to determine where species occur and predicting how future changes may alter species distributions is a pressing global conservation concern. My work focuses on examining the relative importance of different drivers of species occurrence patterns.
One of the key questions in ecology is how organisms select habitat. There are many factors involved with an organism’s choice of habitat and my work investigates the relative importance of different cues in habitat selection. Of particular interest is the use of ‘social information’, or information gained from other animals, in these decisions.
Computer Science/Ecology collaborations-
Collaborations between ecologists and experts in other disciplines have resulted in some of the classic works in ecology. Such collaborations still have the potential to be extremely productive today. Work with the Ecosystem Informatics Program helped me to develop a fruitful collaboration with researchers in computer science. By working together we have been able to apply advanced computer science techniques to solving ecological problems. One of the most exciting of these efforts has focused on automatic ID methods for avian song recordings and more recently on automatic pollen ID.