My primary interests focus around the following (primarily in reptiles):
- Evolutionary ecology
- Developmental plasticity
- Reproductive ecology
- Sex determining mechanisms
- Reproductive physiology
- Adaptations to changing climates
- Phenological shifts
- Phenotypic plasticity
- Invasive species
PhD Research: Sex in Dragons
My focus in this project is the nesting ecology of wild Central Bearded Dragons (Pogona vitticeps) to determine if differences found in the two types of females found in lab settings are present in wild populations. In the field, I have used radio telemetry to track the females at the Australian Wildlife Conservancy's Bowra Wildlife Sanctuary in southwestern Queensland, Australia, to determine if they are choosing different nest microhabitats that could promote sex reversal. I am also looking at the soil temperatures across the range of the dragons. Sex reversal is not common throughout all populations, so I am interested in seeing how temperatures differ across the range of the dragons. In the lab, I am looking at dragon hatchlings' fitness related traits such as sprint speed to determine the consequences of sex reversal on offspring phenotypes. Finally, I am interested in how mother dragons allocate resources and hormones to their offspring. So, I will be looking at nutrient and steroid hormone content in yolks of captive raised dragons.
Alabama Natural Heritage Program
While working for the Alabama Natural Heritage Program, I acted as lab manager for Dr. David Steen. I conducted research on checkered garter snake (Thamnophis marcianus) behavior and investigated the risk of further invasion of the black-and-white Argentine tegu [Salvator (Tupinambis) merianae] into northern latitudes as well as the demographics of wild populations of the lizards in southern Florida using skeletochronology. Tegu publication coming soon!
For my MSc work, I sought to determine whether seasonal variation in incubation temperatures has season-specific consequences in the phenotypes of the brown anole lizard (Anolis sagrei). My findings have since been published in The Proceedings of the Royal Society B. More to come soon!
My undergraduate honors thesis focused on the effects of season- and habitat- specific fluctuating incubation temperatures on the brown anole lizard. These findings shaped my MSc research and were published in Biology Letters.