Expertise

Insects are ubiquitous components of terrestrial ecosystems, often representing a significant proportion of the total animal biomass and serving important ecological roles. Disturbance events can alter insect abundance, diversity, and their interactions. Overall, my research utilizes insects to elucidate principles in community ecology, behavioral ecology, and invasion biology. I specifically use ants as model organisms to address a variety of questions related to ecology, behavior, and organismal biology. Ants are also useful subjects for use in undergraduate research projects. One goal of my research program is provide undergraduates experience with hypothesis-driven research. In assisting with or conducting their own research, students actively engage with the scientific process and develop valuable skills and experiences they use towards their future endeavors. Overall my research aims to improve our understanding how ecological disturbance impacts biodiversity, ecosystem services, and phenotypic variation.

Affiliations

Research Assistant Professor, Biology, Auburn University

Assistant Research Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, College of Sciences and Mathematics, Auburn University

Degrees
PhD, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Biology, 2013
BS, University of California, Davis, Evolution, Ecology, and Biodiversity, 2006
Keywords
social insects animal behavior or ethology ecology entomology ants beneficial insects