My interests are broadly in temperature and how it affects wildlife behavior, fitness, and biogeography. Research on temperature effects largely focus on the mean, but the mean alone is not as valuable as many predictive studies consider it. I focus on temperature variation and its influence on organism behavior. My goal is to establish that temperature variation is a separate and equally (if not more) important factor than temperature mean in the scope of ecological influence, and this work will inform predictive studies on the importance of including temperature variation in their predictive models
I am currently running multiple field sites across Fayetteville, AR with bird boxes to house Eastern Bluebirds. I am tracking hourly temperatures within each box in order to establish temperature mean and variability gradients across and within sites. I will track occupation of nests first, and then I will monitor the behavior of the parents by tracking temperatures within the nest itself to determine how environmental temperatures affect their on/off bouts. Post-hatch, I will monitor nestling survival, body size, and development rate. My goal is to determine how environmental temperature variation shapes parental care as a whole and how this can affect the phenotype of the young.
My previous research also focused on temperature variation and its impact on breeding behavior. I used Phanaeus vindex dung beetles in a field setting with artificially increased temperatures in order to see how they would shift their breeding behavior in a situation similar to climate change predictions for the year 2100. We found that the beetles did shift their behavior based on temperature variation but not temperature mean. The rest of my findings are currently being written, so stay tuned for updates!