I'm an avian ecologist with interests in life-history evolution, community ecology, physiology and conservation. My research is grounded in explaining patterns and observations made in the field.
I work for the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, studying biodiversity effects of keystone species in the vast mixed-grass prairies of the northern glaciated plains of Montana. I maintain an interest, and active projects describing the ecology of Bornean animals in the context of large, unbroken elevational gradients.
5/07/2020: A chance encounter with a rare and little-known legless lizard (Dopasia buettikoferi) during fieldwork in Borneo managed to turn into a very cool manuscript led by the Jablonski lab from the University of Comenius in Bratislava, Slovakia. Recently out in Herpetozoa. Take-aways are that this species is likely widespread but overlooked, and there is a tanalizing possibility of cryptic diversity on the island of Borneo.
1/30/2020: In collaboration with James Mouton (https://www.moutonlab.org/), we tested whether metabolic rates explain global variation in survival rates of passerine birds. As it turns out, metabolism explains variation in the pace-of-life within regions, but the long lives of tropical birds (or the short lives of north temperate birds) are not explained by BMR/RMR.
I gathered data for this paper over 5+ years on 3 continents and I'm ecstatic to see it out in Ecology Letters with one of the Double-collared sunbirds from our South African site on the cover!
1/1/2020: Ryan Burner and myself have both published indepedendent, but highly collaborative work using patterns of bird and trait distributions to tease apart how biotic and abiotic factors determine elevational range limits of tropical birds on the mountains of Borneo. The work is published in The Auk, and the Journal of Biogoegraphy.
2/9/19: I wrote a general introduction to our grassland conservation work in Eastern Montana for the National Zoo website. Link
2/2/2019: First chapter of my dissertation is out in the world. Using playback experiments we show that closely-related birds with adjacent ranges don't always show aggressive responses to each other. We also point out that co-existing species sometimes *are* really aggressive. Cool results if I don't say to myself, but means we have to be really careful in interpreting what interspecific aggression actually means relative to competitive exclusion. See article in Behavioral Ecology HERE.
9/28/2018: My photo-note on the use of fungus-infected woody material in birds nests was published in Frontiers in Ecology & the Environment. CHECK OUT HOW COOL THESE NESTS ARE.
NEWS DUMP: Between the last "NEWS" and today (9/28/18), I finished my PhD (Yay!), spent 5 months as a postdoc working on breeding biology and migration in Cordilleran Flycatchers with Dr. Charles van Riper III @ The University of Arizona, and finally...accepted a 3yr position studying links between biodiversity and native grazers (Bison) with the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute. Check out a video introduction to our project below.
10/19/2016: Our paper on latitudinal patterns in life-histories in new world thrushes is out in the Journal of Avian Biology! Link to early view is here. Photo: Daniel Muñoz.
12/29/16: Turns out birds put roofs on nests for the same reason humans put roofs on houses; for protection from danger, but more importantly, to buffer the effects of nasty weather on the inhabitants. See our paper in Functional Ecology here.
5/1/2016: Maria Stager and I are excited to be organizing an accepted symposium at NAOC 2016 in Washington D.C. If you have an interest in Metabolic Ecology, please come check out the talks on Friday, August 19th!