Research

I am broadly interested in the evolution of reproductive behavior, and use field experiments coupled with molecular techniques to test current theory in behavioral, community, and conservation ecology. Field work at Neotropical study sites focuses on a guild of macropredators in water-filled tree holes and other phytotelmata (e.g. larva of giant damselflies and a predatory mosquito, and tadpoles of poison-arrow frogs). My temperate field research focuses on the evolution and maintenance of sex-specific color polymorphism in odonates and the effects of invasive species on odonate communities. Research topics include the interplay of selective pressures on adults and larvae, sexual conflict, sexual signalling and speciation, and fitness effects of zebra mussel colonization of odonate larvae.

Examples of some questions that direct my research:

How do selective pressures on larvae influence adult behavior?
How does interspecific competition affect adult reproductive strategies?
How does a guild of 5 top predators coexist in water-filled tree holes, a limiting resource?
How does selection on female behavior underlie male mating patterns?
How does sexual signalling promote speciation?
How do adult and larval behaviors affect the genetic structure of insect populations in fragmented forests?

In collaboration with Dr. Jessica Ware (Rutgers), we use molecular techniques to assess parentage and genetic divergence among populations. In collaboration with Dr. Tom Schultz (Denison University), we investigate proximate and ultimate mechanisms of sexual signaling.