1983 B.S. (Biology and Wildlife) University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point
1985 M.S. (Biology) University of Memphis, Memphis, TNI
1990 Ph.D. (Ecology) University of Georgia, Athens GA
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The application of theory from ecology, evolution, and population genetics to questions in wildlife management and conservation biology is of special interest to me. My work employs experimental approaches to gain understanding of interactions between genetic diversity, environmental variation, and population viability under natural conditions. Students in my laboratory are evaluating how well theory and laboratory observations involving founder effects, bottlenecks, inbreeding, and outbreeding predict viability of experimental populations of vertebrates. We are also assessing how genetic diversity on population level processes is affected by fluctuating and stressful environments. Environmental stresses include parasitism, competition, predation, heavy metals, temperature, and salinity. This research adds to our understanding of how genetic variation influences a population's ability to survive in the face of biotic and abiotic threats and provides insight into the management of vertebrates in small populations and the restoration of species to areas from which they have been extirpated.
My research interests also include the effects of human activities on the genetics, evolution, and ecology of vertebrates. Genetic diversity is assessed in wildlife species whose population structures have been altered by humans, and in experimentally manipulated populations maintained in simulated natural conditions. As part of this work, I am evaluating the relative power of different biochemical and molecular techniques to assess variation in genetic diversity within and among populations, as well as to serve as tags for the study of individual movement and estimation of population size. My students and I are also examining the effects of habitat change, such as wetland loss and forest alteration, on a diverse group of vertebrates including fish, herpetofauna, songbirds, and bats.