Mammal community response to landscape modification
Ecological communities are largely shaped by their environment. With ongoing industrial development in Alberta's mountains and boreal forests, understanding the mechanisms through which mammal species respond to landscape change is critical. I use motion-triggered camera traps and spatial analyses to relate mammal distributions to landscape characteristics, aiming to advance ecological theory and enable more effective conservation measures.
I am currently investigating determinants of fine-scale mammal species richness. Knowing that environments help shape mammal communities, which environmental factors best explain spatial variation in species richness at the smallest scales? This project is a tale of competing hypotheses that builds upon fundamental species–environment questions.
Hummingbird flower mite taxonomy and host affiliations
Hummingbird flower mites (Acari: Mesostigmata) occupy hummingbird-pollinated plants through the New World and disperse between individual host plants on hummingbird bills. I collaborated with Jill Jankowski's lab group to identify mites collected from several hummingbird species in the Manú Biosphere Reserve of Peru, a biodiversity hotspot. This led to the description of new species and hummingbird host affiliations, and community-level comparisons between different geographic regions of the Andes.
Hybridization in grasses and the use of decision trees in taxonomy
Species hybridization is best studied from both molecular and morphometric perspectives. With Quentin Cronk, I tested whether a putative new hybrid in Melica (Poaceae) was intermediate in its morphology between the two parent species. In doing so, I developed an approach to test for hybrid intermediacy using machine learning, and mapped parents and hybrids to examine the distribution of hybridizing species at a local scale.