Hi. I’m an evolutionary biologist at the American Museum of Natural History
I research evolution in a changing world. As humans have increasingly manipulated the planet, the environment has continued to innovate and adapt. I'm intensely interested in the patterns and processes that enable the environment to respond to human associated changes. Sometimes those responses are beneficial, as when humans breed wheat varieties with higher yields. Sometimes those responses are detrimental as when the Gulf of Mexico becomes hypoxic because of agricultural run-off. Most of the time we have no idea what's happening. I'd like to help figure some of this out. Thank you for your interest.
My training is in evolutionary biology first and foremost. I am particularly interested in the evolution of small populations. Small populations experience a unique set of challenges, and the forces of evolution take on special importance. Populations of invasive species and species near extinction are small. Understanding the risks associated with them and managing them require particular insights to their biology.
I primarily work with agricultural systems. No other human activity has such a profound affect upon the ecology and sustainability of the world. To continue and extend our successes in feeding a growing world, we must understand how ecology and evolution play into agricultural systems. I'm currently researching a fruit pest and planning a project on a pest of small grains (like wheat and rye).
The world is currently experiencing vast and rapid changes—from accelerated species extinctions to climate change—and the causes and outcomes of these changes are of critical importance to markets and society. Understanding the nature of rapid evolution to a changing world will impact our interpretations of global change and inform our stewardship decisions.