My research interests fall at the interface of ecotoxicology, conservation biology, and community, population, behavioral, and disease ecology. I am particularly interested in how anthropogenic changes, mainly pollution, climate change, and alterations to biodiversity, affect wildlife populations, species interactions, and the spread of both wildlife and human diseases. These effects are undoubtedly complex and dependent upon biotic and abiotic conditions. Consequently, my collaborators and I have studied interactions among multiple natural and anthropogenic stressors and are making efforts to integrate our research across disciplines. Our goal is to understand, and develop solutions to, environmental problems to enhance the likelihood of a sustainable existence for both humans and wildlife. Much of my wildlife research has focused on amphibians because they are declining globally and much of my human disease work has focused on zoonotic bacteria, vector-borne diseases, and schistosomiasis. However, I have worked with a diversity of host taxa and parasite taxa and I tend to be more motivated by interesting questions, syntheses, and the quest for generalities in than taxa-specific pursuits. When possible, I try to integrate laboratory experiments, mesocosm studies, field experiments, field surveys, and mathematical models to enhance our understanding of natural systems.
Please see the Ecology and Public health links below the Research Interests tab for further discussions of the current focal research areas in my lab.
Scanning electron microscopy image of human
schistome parasites (photo credit: Bruce Wetzel)