Research

 

sheep_eating

I am broadly interested in how ecological processes can shape long-term evolutionary dynamics in a wide diversity of study organisms. As a postdoc with Dr. Thomas Parchman (University of Nevada, Reno), I am currently focusing my research efforts on asking how management strategies have affected population genetic structure and levels of hybridization among three subspecies of bighorn sheep found across the state of Nevada (in collaboration with Dr. Marjorie Matocq (UNR) and the Nevada Department of Wildlife). In addition, I am also investigating the effects of ecological and evolutionary processes on genome variation in a number of other study systems, including chickadees, serotinous pines, and woodrats.

For my dissertation research with Dr. Matthew Forister (UNR), I examined the relative importance of biotic and abiotic drivers of diversification in a diverse, tropical tri-trophic system. My research focused on interactions between Eois caterpillars, the Piper plants that the caterpillars feed on, and the parisitoid wasps that kill the caterpillars. To answer questions about this system, my collaborators and I synthesized results obtained from traditional phylogenetic sequencing, population genomics, and novel techniques for characterizing phytochemistry.

Additionally, I am also actively thinking about questions related to the following topics: (1) host-associated differentiation and the evolution of diet breadth in herbivorous insects; (2) the evolution of secondary chemistry in chemically diverse plant lineages; (3) the evolution of Mullerian mimicry in velvet ants; and (4) the evolutionary history of grass-feeding Lepidoptera..

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