PhD Candidate at the University of Connecticut
I'm a PhD candidate in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Connecticut. I am interested in how species can live in difficult places, how they will respond to climate change, and how climate change may change species interactions. I primarily work with hummingbirds and reptiles in the Western United States. I have received several awards and grants for my research, with projects and publications that you can learn more about below.
AVIAN METABOLIC ECOLOGY
To better understand how species can live in difficult abiotic environments, like high elevations, I use physiological and metabolic ecology focusing on unique adaptations in hummingbirds. I use elevational transects to understand how and why hummingbirds use torpor, a type of nightly hibernation, and how this changes between low and high elevation species. I am currently expanding this work by collaborating with endocrinologists to better understand the physiological underpinnings of torpor.
CLIMATE CHANGE AND RANGE SHIFTS
Building upon work done by a former lab colleague, I have developed a powerful tool for use in the identification and characterization of the processes in my model system. A major advantage of this development is its improved sensitivity, which allows it to detect subtle dynamic property changes in response to my experimental setup.
DIET COMPETITION AND NICHE PARTITIONING
We still have only a very limited understanding of Cell Culture. Answering questions about this is essential for understanding the mechanistic role it plays on other scientific processes, and for developing tools to further explore this research avenue with more sensitive measurements and improved data collection.
PHYSIOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF HABITAT DESTRUCTION
In an effort to gain a better understanding of Gene Sequencing, I have recently begun to use a new technique to investigate the organization and functionality of the diverse parts of my experimental model. I am currently looking to expand this work by collaborating with other labs who have the facilities and prior experience to investigate this project further.