I am interested in how selection pressures in novel environments contribute to individual specialization and resource use.
My current Ph.D. research as part of the Newsome Lab at the University of New Mexico lies at the intersection of urban and isotope ecology, with a focus on urban carnivores. Human populations continue to increase, so understanding how and why animals respond to urbanization is important in order to understand why certain species are successful in urban environments and which may be negatively impacted.
I combine isotope analysis with field methods to study the foraging ecology of urban coyotes in the Chicago metropolitan area, in collaboration with the Urban Coyote Research Project. Specifically, I study resource use at multiple ecological levels to understand resource partitioning and individual specialization.My undergraduate research at the University of California, Davis focused on elephant behavior. I investigated the nature of human-elephant interactions in a captive setting, and conducted several studies on yawning and contagious yawning in African elephants.
Full text copies of my published research papers are available here.