My research program explores the role of species interactions in driving the structure, function, and assembly of ecological communities, with emphasis on the dynamics of aquatic ecosystems. My work spans a diverse array of taxa (fishes, invertebrates, and salamanders) and my projects include both temperate and tropical ecosystems. My approach is integrative, I use a combination of experiments, descriptive studies, and modeling to develop and test ecological theory and inform conservation and management. I follow the scientific method but am aware that some of the most interesting phenomena in biology are inconspicuous and remain undiscovered; therefore I apply both a careful understanding of natural history and a willingness to conduct experiments when complexity obscures obvious pattern.
My research program seeks to answer 4 central questions in ecology:
Trophic Biogeography: How does food webs structure vary across heterogeneous landscapes, and what are the consequences of habitat heterogeneity on the strength of ecological process?
Community Assembly: How does the sequence and timing of species arrival modify competition and predation to drive community assembly and species coexistence?
Species Interactions: How do direct and higher-order species interactions affect community structure and function?
Population Dynamics: How do abiotic, biotic, and stage-structured processes govern early recruitment dynamics of organisms living in demographically open systems?