The goal of my research is to develop empirically grounded theory that increases our understanding of how species interactions structure communities.  In this research, I combine theoretical and empirical approaches at the interface of ecology, evolution, and behavior to investigate questions in three focal areas:

  • The role of evolution in species invasions 
    •  I am interested in the evolutionary aspects of what is generally considered an ecological process, including rapid evolution during the establishment phase of potential invasions, the relationship between a community’s evolutionary history and its susceptibility to invasion, and the consequences of coevolution during community assembly. 
  • The persistence of mutualisms
    •  Mutualisms raise a number of fascinating questions about how cooperation is maintained in the face of conflict, including how mutualisms persist despite exploitation by non-mutualists, how predators alter the costs and benefits of mutualism, and how competition has shaped mutualisms.
  • The joint control of disease by hosts and parasites
    • Virulence has traditionally been viewed as a trait of the parasite; however, the host’s behavior and immune system can play important roles in resisting infection and reducing virulence. Along with students I mentor, I have been developing evolutionary models investigating this joint control of disease. 

To see more detailed descriptions of some of my research projects, click here.