Professor of Biology
Eberly College of Science
Phone number(s): 
(814) 867-2251
Office Address: 
510D Mueller Laboratory
PSIEE Research Theme: 
Climate and Ecosystem Change
Research Summary: 

My research is broadly focused on understanding the processes that structure communities and permit the coexistence of the component species. I am particularly interested in how the nature of interactions between species can shift over time in response to changes in the environment and corresponding selection pressures. The introduction of invasive species is one such perturbation that is becoming increasingly common. My current research examines how invasive fire ants impact the behavior, morphology, and physiology of native lizards across multiple time scales, and the consequences of evolutionary response of native species to these novel selective pressures. This research has both basic and applied relevance, allowing me to address important ecological questions about the evolutionary processes affecting the composition and dynamics of natural communities, while also providing valuable information on the long-term impact of invasive species. My work is mostly field based, and incorporates aspects of population, community, behavioral, and evolutionary ecology. I employ experimental and comparative approaches and molecular techniques to test key hypotheses with two main foci: 1) the evolution of survival strategies and 2) the ecological and evolutionary consequences of stress.