I am fascinated by systems; how they function, what structures them, and what causes them to fail. My favourite systems are ecological systems and my specific research focus is ecological food webs. However, I see myself as highly interdisciplinary and am interested in the intersection of ecology with evolution, politics, and economics. My main research tool is mathematical modelling, but I also collaborate with empiricists regularly.
For my PhD, I am examining the interactions of ecological processes across scales in a variety of systems. One part of my PhD will examine how the stabilization of farming yields through fertilization and pesticide use can translate into instability in farming profits. Another part of my PhD will examine the dynamics of resident gut microbial communities (microbiomes).
For my MSc, I quantified the interactions between parasitoids, spruce budworm and other caterpillars in New Brunswick. I found that the parasitoid community exhibited a coherent and indisciminate response to changing relative abundances of spruce budworm and other caterpillars on balsam fir. Furthermore, there was a strong suggestion that the parasitoid community attacks other caterpillars on hardwood trees when spruce budworm are rare.
During my undergraduate degree, I researched the reasons for the movement of Arctic woolly bear caterpillar between Salix arctica individuals. I found that the Arctic woolly bear caterpillar moved up to 4 metres a day between S. arctica individuals due to lack of resources on a single individual and potentially induced defences.