My research focusses on the causes and consequences of animal movements such as migration. I’m particularly interested in understanding how migratory behaviors may be linked to organismal life history strategies and metabolic organization as well as how such understanding can be used to better understand large-scale patterns in biodiversity. I use a combination of theoretical and empirical approaches in my research and attempt to link these approaches when possible.
My PhD research at the University of Colorado Denver, advised by Dr. Michael Wunder, revolved around similar questions. Using Flammulated Owls as a model system I combined high spatial resolution GPS data with remote-sensed environmental data to analyze year-round niche dynamics in the species. This analysis, combined with counterfactual simulation models, provided insights into the ultimate eco-evolutionary drivers of seasonal avian migrations. I also co-developed a theoretical animal metabolic model to explore how metabolically linked life history traits (pace of life) covaries with seasonality.
Much of my current work seeks to expand on these themes – trying to understand how organisms use movement to integrate spatiotemporally disparate conditions and resources to construct viable niches. I’m also involved in projects attempting to understand the impacts of migration of various fitness components (e.g., survival) to better understand how migration limits or promotes fitness across taxa. Finally, the results of these analyses will hopefully prove useful in making synthetic predictions about how we might expect migrations to look in the future under various climate change scenarios.