Have you ever wondered about the wildlife that lives alongside us in cities? If after dark, raccoons and opossums venture out into our parks, or whether coyotes cruise drainage ditches to get around town?
My current Ph.D. research at the University of New Mexico focuses on urban mammal ecology, with a particular interest in the mammal communities in Albuquerque and other arid cities. Not all mammals are able to adapt to highly modified and constantly changing urban environments, but certain species like coyotes, raccoons, skunks, and many others have learned to take advantage of the resources cities provide, and persist in these environments. Little is known about how urban mammals use arid cities, and what factors contribute to their occurrence. My research aims to address gaps in knowledge about urban mammal ecology in arid and semi-arid ecosystems.
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.