Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Research opportunities for Rice undergrads

My research investigates the mechanisms and consequences of how species interact with each other. I study interactions between mutualists, competitors, predators and prey, and hosts and parasites using a combination of laboratory experiments, mathematical modeling, and computer simulations.

I am currently looking for students interested in independent research projects related to the questions below. I would also be happy to discuss other project ideas. Contact me for more information or to set up a meeting.

(1) How do predators change the behavior of pollinators?

Some predators (such as crab spiders) wait on flowers to ambush bees and other pollinators. We can use bumble bees in the lab to test how pollinators make choices about where to forage when the most rewarding flowers may also be the most dangerous ones.

(2) How do native species influence species invasions?

Native species may either resist or facilitate species invasions, depending on the type of interaction they have with the invader. We can use mathematical models and computer simulations to explore how the traits and evolution of native species affect the spread of invasive species.