Research

For my graduate work in the Orrock Lab, I have been working in the southeastern US to understand how human activities in both the past and present generate spatial variation in species interactions and their outcomes, with a focus on mammalian foraging behavior. I’m specifically interested in the longleaf-pine woodland ecosystem, which is a critically endangered ecosystem and provides essential habitat to some endangered wildlife species. Longleaf-pine woodlands have the potential to be biodiversity hotspots because of their historically diverse understory plant communities. Since these woodlands host a suite of mammal species that play potentially important roles for the dispersal and persistence of plants, I study a broad range of mammalian predators and prey to understand how their behavior shapes plant communities. I am particularly interested in how the overlay of past agricultural land use and contemporary disturbances in longleaf pine woodlands affects seed-granivore, plant-herbivore, and predator-prey interactions and determines the strength of trophic cascades. I am also interested in how human activities that change patch geometry, like the implementation of conservation corridors, affect mammalian species interactions and foraging decisions. I also study the unique role of mesopredators as seed dispersal agents and how differences in coyote diets and social rank may affect this role. I aim to conduct research that satisfies my inherent curiosity about the natural world, is broadly informative to our understanding of how ecosystems operate, and can be applied to solve contemporary conservation problems.

White-tailed deer captured in a study of how land-use history modifies anti-predator behavior and herbivory.
Southeastern fox squirrel captured in a study of how past land use and contemporary canopy harvesting affect seed fate and granivore activity
Nail-tagged acorn recovered from a seed-tracking experiment
Foraging trays to measure how mesopredator scat affects survival of scat-dispersed seeds
Coyote and white-tailed deer captured in a study monitoring mammalian responses to conservation corridors
%d bloggers like this: