• 3761

Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research interests

My research fuses metabolic ecology, movement ecology, and community ecology to address basic and applied questions in biology. This involves studying how the traits of organisms (physiology, body size, body temperature, etc.) interact with the physical environment (light, moisture, temperature, habitat dimensionality, etc.) to drive behavior and movement; how this influences the strength and outcome of species interactions; and how species interactions shape ecological systems and even global patterns of biodiversity. Understanding these relationships requires study across taxa, habitats, and levels of biological organization from individual physiology to ecosystem ecology. These issues are relevant to many questions in ecology and evolution, including those centered on behavior, species interactions, disease, community functioning and stability, and global change. More recently, my
work explores how humans interact with the natural world, with the goal of producing science that can inform management and policy.

I employ a range of methods in my research, including field monitoring, field and laboratory experiments, analysis of published data, and mechanistic theory. I have long had the goal of creating better methods for the remote (non-destructive) monitoring of ecological systems that not only quantify which species are present, but also their morphology (e.g., body size, body temperature, metabolic rate), behavior (e.g., activity budget, speed, foraging strategy), and rate of ecological interactions. Recent advances in imaging (RGB, near-infrared, thermal, sonar, 4D
cameras, etc.) and computer vision now enable unprecedented quantification of the lives of untagged animals from diverse taxa, habitats, and environmental contexts (see Dell et al. 2014). I use these technologies in the laboratory and field to collect high-resolution movement and behavioral data that I analyze with automated tracking and behavioral phenotyping software. Currently I am able to track almost 100 unmarked individuals in a diversity of environmental contexts, including day and night, terrestrial and aquatic. I anticipate my use of these approaches increasing in the future, as the technology continues to advance and become more accessible. Ultimately, I believe these technologies will fundamentally change the nature of ecological research, much as it has done for molecular biology.

Available to Mentor:

  • PhD/MSTP Students


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