- Ph.D., Dept of Ecology, Ethology, and Evolution, University of Illinois at Urbana -Champaign, 2002
- M.S., Dept. of Biology, Virginia Tech, 1996
- B.S., Dept. of Biology, University of Windsor, 1994
Ecological causes and consequences of variation in biodiversity: My research program is broadly focused on the disciplinary interfaces between population, community and ecosystem ecology in both freshwater and terrestrial systems and has involved work with amphibians, insects, fish, lizards, and herbaceous plants. In particular, I am interested in understanding processes that control the structure (e.g., relative abundances of species, number of species and kinds of species present) of ecological communities and how this structure affects ecosystem function and dynamics of constituent populations. For example, my students and I study how biotic and abiotic factors affect the intensity of species interactions within food webs which can affect the ability of different species to coexist. Understanding the ecological causes and consequences of variation in the biodiversity of food webs is essential if society is interested in conserving biodiversity and predicting the consequences of biodiversity loss. To facilitate our understanding of living systems, I employ experimental, macroecological, and meta-analytical approaches to address questions that are grounded in both theory and natural history. Currently, my students and I are conducting experimental and macroecological work focusing on the ecology of freshwater ponds (particularly the amphibians and invertebrates that occupy them) and macroecological work focusing on data collected on plant communities at different National Science Foundation Long Term Ecological Research sites.