My research has typically had an an emphasis on providing information requisite for immediately pressing management or conservation applications. My interests fall under three general focus areas:
- Building spatially explicit predictions related to where species and individuals are distributed across large scales, and evaluating the reasons for these patterns, both with regard to environmental characteristics, inter-specific interactions, and specific demographic processes underlying the current state.
- Modifying and developing model frameworks that allow robust prediction. Most of the parameters of interest in ecology cannot be perfectly observed, and standard statistical techniques are not robust to incomplete observation. I typically prefer using models that treat parameters as latent variables, and when analytically tractable and computationally reasonable, I prefer to consider ecological and observation processes with explicit consideration for specific biological factors (e.g., individual space use, density dependence) that are rarely considered within predictive models. Mathematical/theoretical assumptions can’t be evaluated if they aren’t made explicit!
- Determining cost-effective and easily implemented methods/analyses for applied usage. Most of my experience has involved carnivores that are inherently difficult and expensive to sample, and making incremental improvements in cost-efficiency or detectability can pay huge dividends in the success or failure of survey/monitoring efforts. Moreover, it can be computationally expensive to fit complex models with large, multi-year datasets, and finding tractable and accurate alternative frameworks can make robust analysis more accessible.
My research at UW (in conjunction with the Townsend Lab and WDNR) focuses on providing statewide assessments of species distribution, abundance, and dynamics in relation to changes in land cover and phenology.