Our research seeks to bridge the gap between basic science in ecology and evolution and its application in the conservation and restoration of biodiversity.
The influx of non-native species into native ecosystems is one of the principle threats to biodiversity worldwide. Our research explores the influence of trade and commerce on the rate at which non-native species establish. Using Management models and novel genetic techniques, we also explore how to monitor and manage harmful invasive animals (For more on novel surveillance Tools).
Coastal ecosystems occupy a profound place of importance in society. They provide highly valued benefits to human populations, have consistently been a preferred location for human settlement, and have deep cultural importance that can transcend socio-economic groups. Despite this importance, and likely because of it, coastal ecosystems are subject to multiple stressors that have combined to degrade the services they provide. Our lab focuses on characterizing the biodiversity of coastal ecosystems, and working to conserve and responsibly Harvest these species in the face of multiple environmental impacts.
Eastern Bluebirds from Bermuda (top) and across their native range in eastern North America (bottom). PC: Julian Avery. For more see Avery et al. 2014.
Naturalists and biologists have long considered islands to be showcases of evolution. Species that have recently colonized islands either naturally or by human-mediated processes give us the rare opportunity to directly observe the dynamics of diversification. Our research has centered on the evolution of passerine birds that have recently colonized Bermuda, Puerto Rico and the Hawaiian Islands.
Dispersal is critically important for many ecological and evolutionary processes, but remains a weak link in our understanding of population biology. A deep understanding of dispersal is essential in forecasting species' responses to environmental change. Our lab uses a variety of modelling approaches to explore the role that human-mediated transportation plays in animal dispersal, and how dispersal informs species conservation.