Prospective students: Please note that my ecological research program is no longer active, and that I am no longer taking on students or serving on student committees.
Current Projects: I currently direct two projects funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).
The first aims to facilitate the building of a nationwide "community of practice" among the scientists, administrators, student support specialists and evaluators involved in projects funded by the NSF’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Talent Enhancement Program (known as STEP). The goal of STEP is to increase the number of STEM graduates throughout the nation. My project involves: (1) planning and organizing annual meetings of the STEP community (in 2012, 2013 and 2014); and (2) continuing to develop and expand the STEP online community by (a) increasing the usability and usefulness of the community's new website, STEPcentral.net, (b) offering opportunities for on-line training sessions and conferencing on topics of interest to the community, and (c) encouraging the involvement of the STEP community in these online activities.
The second project involves the development of a web portal and online community forum for recipients of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Math and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM). This web site, paesmem.net, is still under development.
Previous Ecological Research: An important area of research in evolutionary ecology is to decipher the detailed manner in which interacting populations influence each others fitness (and consequently their evolutionary trajectories). My work focused on plant-pollinator mutualisms (interactions in which individuals in both populations potentially benefit), and multiple-species interactions in which some of the pair-wise interactions are mutualistic.
Most recently, our research focused on Hesperoyucca
whipplei (formerly Yucca whipplei) and its highly specialized
floral associates. The sole pollinator is the specialist yucca moth, Tegeticula
maculata, which also acts as a seed predator. Anthoneus
agavensis, a sap beetle whose larvae destroy developing flower
buds, is another specialist. In addition, there are several other
species (beetles and moths that are also fairly specialized) that
act as seed predators. Our aim was to better understand how these species influence each others
population dynamics and evolution, and, in turn, how their dynamics was influenced by major disturbances, such as fire.
University of Oregon