Professor of Behavioural Ecology
"We use long-term field studies to understand how behavioural differences among individuals shape survival and reproductive success in bird populations"
Research: Predicting the effects of environmental change on wildlife is not possible without understanding how populations are regulated, both in winter and summer. Our studies of over-winter survival and breeding in resident songbirds at Queen's Biology Station have previously led to fundamental discoveries about the impact of social dominance and communication strategies on success (fitness). Current work explores 1) the effects of climate and density on fitness as migratory warblers move from over-winter to summer habitat, and 2) the causes and consequences of staying year round versus migrating, in a partially migrant bluebird population. To answer these questions we use capture, marking, tissue sampling and behavioural experiments in the field combined with analyses of multi-year data sets.
Teaching: Most students enjoy learning about recent advances in animal ecology and behaviour, so my chief goal in course design is to equip students with the tools they need to appreciate this research. Courses include field trips where possible and lab exercises to collect and analyze data, and writing assignments where students explore the primary literature.
Course Topics: Population ecology, vertebrate zoology, animal behaviour, songbird communication field course
Office Number: Biosciences 4319A