Current Appointment: I am a Research Scientist and founder/leader of the Behavioral Complexity Lab in the Department of Zoology and Physiology and a member of the Program in Ecology and Evolution (PiEE) at University of Wyoming.
Bio: I am the Principal Investigator of the Behavioral Ecology Lab. My interest and work span multiple fields within ecology, including bioacoustics, plant-animal interactions, endocrinology, visual perception, advanced physiological telemetry of free-ranging animals, climatic modeling, movement ecology, and ecological simulations. I have conducted field work in the United States (including northern Alaska, Hawaii, Georgia, California, Washington, and Arizona) in many biomes. I have also conducted field ecology work in Brazil and Ecuador (Galapagos Islands) with a variety of animals, including Harpy Eagles, three species of monkeys, countless species of bird, and jumping spiders . My main work (including my Ph.D.) has been in the tropical forests of Panama, where I have worked for 18 of the last 20 years exploring natural history and ecology of tropical birds. Since 2010 (based on my previous field work), I have delved into statistical ways of quantifying and improving inference about ecological phenomena (including ways to quantify information flow between animals and between plants and animals).
I am the co-founder of the Hawaii VINE Project, a US Department of Defense-funded project that has been investigating how non-native birds impact native and non-native plants in Hawaii (using ecological network analysis, animal visual modeling, movement ecology modeling, and occupancy/abundance modeling). I am also co-founder of the Panama PLUMAS Project, a National Geographic-funded project that examines how demography and physiology of tropical birds are impacted by climate and anthropogenic land-use (forest fragmentation). Most recently, with funding from the US Department of Defense and Microsoft, I founded the ecoAI Project to explore the utility of machine learning in ecology (species detection, behavioral quantification, and ecological network estimation).
Education: Harvard (B.A. Biology), University of California-Davis (Ph.D., Animal Behavior; advisor: John C. Wingfield)
Previous Appointments: Postdoctoral research at UC-Berkeley (advisor: Damien Elias), Florida State University (advisor: Emily DuVal), and the University of British Columbia (advisor: Jill Jankowski).
Personal: Dad twice over, husband, Eagle Scout, data nerd, fly-fisherman, fiercely anti-BS, loves data-driven arguments, born in Scotland, raised in coastal Georgia on the Georgia-Florida border (in a town smaller than Laramie, WY). I’ve visited 49/50 states in the USA (still waiting on an invitation to fly-fish for Northern pike in Minnesota). I’ve been sucker-punched by a Harpy Eagle, had a tropical parasite ate a hole in my arm (and Dengue almost killed me), and I’ve fallen into a human sewage cistern (which had been stewing in the tropical heat).