I take a whole organism and interdisciplinary approach to my research, using tools from animal behavior, physiology and anatomy, and evolutionary biology. The central goal of my research is to explore how phenotypically plastic traits (behavioral and physiological) are affected by changes in environmental variables. My research program has examined this topic by using two very different systems.
My work with field crickets focused on the idea that adaptive phenotypic plasticity is one way for species to persist in variable environments. Specifically, I have examined aspects of the environmentally mediated life-history trade-off between flight and reproduction in different polyphenic morphs.
My work with swallowtail butterflies focused on the costs and benefits of male nuptial gift giving – in many Lepidoptera species, males take in salt from the environment and transfer it to females during mating. Specifically, I am examining how salt availability affects male behavior and fitness, and how variation in male-provided salt affects the fitness of females and their offspring.
I started as a new faculty member in the Biology Department in the Fall of 2015. I am looking forward to setting up my research program here, and conducting research with NCC students on questions in animal behavior and evolution using local insect species. If you are interested in getting involved with research in my lab, contact me!