Research

sheep_eating

I am an evolutionary biologist with a passion for understanding the ecological factors that generate and maintain genetic variation across natural and modified landscapes. My current research asks how management strategies have affected population genetic structure and hybridization among three subspecies of bighorn sheep (California, Desert, Rocky Mt.) found throughout western North America (largely funded by the Nevada Department of Wildlife). In addition, I am actively working with a number of other study systems, including Colias butterflies, American woodcock, and Great Basin plants.

For my dissertation, 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.