My general interests lie in the areas of evolutionary, behavioral, and ecosystem ecology. Most of my field research has been conducted in the tropics, in particular on islands in the West Indies and in Mexico. Recent work has focused on the impact of climate warming on ectotherms in the Luquillo rainforest and the Guanica tropical dry forest in Puerto Rico. Part of this work involves comparisons of the current niche relationships and abundances of resident anoles, as well as arthropod densities, with studies that I conducted in the same locations during the 1970s. Since that time, the average temperature of the rainforest has increased by 2.2 C. To help interpret landscape changes over the past 40 years, we also conduct analyses of LANDSAT satellite images of our study areas.
Another major area of research is computational ecology. I am collaborating with Professor Peter Kramer from RPIís Department of Mathematics on the development of biology-based models of aquatic ecosystem dynamics. Our aim is to address many of the unrealsitic assumptions and other shortcomings of traditional models. For example, current theory assumes that species possess perfect information about the probabilities of encountering food or predators. By incorporating stochastic dynamic models of behavior, our simulations include the effects of imperfect information and decision making on population birth and death rates and lead to a number of novel predictions concerning the impact of communication and information flow on dynamics.
Department of Biology
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute