Post Doctoral Researcher, Department of Biology, University of Pennsylvania (2016 – present).
I am an evolutionary ecologist that uses experiments and genomic tools to answer questions about rapid evolution and community ecology. At the broadest level I am interested in understanding what factors influence the trajectory of populations and ecological communities. Much of my research centers on understanding the fate of populations and communities in changing environments, with a focus on investigating how rapid evolution shapes ecological dynamics and the persistence of populations. I have particular zest for studying the ecology and evolution that occurs in freshwater ecosystems and in host-microbiome interactions.
My PhD research at the University of British Columbia with Dr. Dolph Schluter in 2016 largely focused on understanding how rapid evolution alters ecological communities in freshwater. This work was centered on understanding the ecology of rapid evolution and included experiments studying both the ecology and rapid evolution in trophic cascades.
I am currently a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Pennsylvania with Dr. Paul Schmidt. My postdoctoral research is also in collaboration with Dr. Dmitri Petrov at Stanford University. In my postdoctoral research I am continuing to ask and answer questions about the ecology of rapid evolution. I use the model system, Drosophila melanogaster, in outdoor experimental enclosures to experimentally manipulate the pace of evolution with the goal of understanding how genetic changes ultimately influence the fate of populations. In short, I want to know what factors influence the predictability of evolutoin and the ecological impacts of rapid evolution (e.g., evolutionary rescue and eco-evolutionary feedbacks).
Postdoctoral Researcher, 2016
University of Pennsylvania, Department of Biology
ThinkSwiss Fellow, 2016
Center for Ecology, Evolution, and Biogeochemistry-EAWAG
PhD in Zoology, 2016
University of British Columbia
BSc in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 2010
University of Rochester
Having grown up in the great lakes region I am motivated to understand the rapid evolution, ecology, and physiology of freshwater organisms. I mainly work in lakes, where populations are often discrete and eco-evolutionary processes occur in parallel in multiple locations within a landscape.
Ecologist have studied the factors that regulate populations and shape ecological communities for over a century. One factor that was NOT traditionally considered is that rapid evolution could shape ecological dynamics. Many lab-based experiments have demonstrated that rapid evolution can dictate population dynamics, but there is little know about how common in natural ecosystems. My research in this area seeks to add ecological realism to understand when and how rapid evolution shapes ecology
Bacteria play a crucial role in the physiology, ecology, and evolution of animals even if they are not transmitted or acquired across generations and the composition of affiliated microbial communities can impact host performance and relative fitness. Do microbiomes affect the evolutionary trajectories of host populations? Do host genotypes shape microbiome composition? How do these interactions influence the phenotypes, population dynamics, and evolutionary trajectories of host populations?
Many fields of biology have tremendously benefitted from the increasing availability of whole genome data. Genetic data has become crucial to many areas of ecology, but whole genome data has not proven particularly beneficial. In this area of my research I seek to use whole genome data as a tool to increase the predictability of community ecology.