I am interested in ecology and evolution, and most of my work has focused on birds and more recently mammals. Our department of birds and mammals conducts research on local marine mammals, collaborates with US Fish and Wildlife for important surveys of public lands, and we do a variety of research ranging from studying why birds fly into windows in urban settings to how toxic birds acquire and use poisons for defense to using genetics to study relationships among species of animals (and more...) We currently have students in the lab ranging from high school, Masters students, PhD students
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At the California Academy of Sciences (CAS) I work as an interdepartmental research and scientific illustrator. In the Botany Department, I work as a Science Illustrator to create highly-detailed botanical plates of tropical plants that are completely new to science and immediately threatened by habitat destruction and climate change. In Ornithology and Mammalogy and under the Marine Mammal Stranding Network I conduct fieldwork to perform necropsies on stranded whales in the San Francisco Bay Area to uncover the cause of death and dive into the field of marine virology.
I study the patterns and processes of evolution in scorpions and their fascinating venoms, spiders, and whip spiders. I am particularly interested in the interactions between biota, geology, and climate that have lead to the present-day assemblage of life on Earth. I feel that by understanding the history of life on Earth, we can make better informed decisions for enabling the present-day flora and fauna to continue to adapt and evolve.
I study the diversity and evolution of ants. In particular, I am interested in uncovering the diversity, origin, and radiation of ants across the southwest Indian Ocean. Concerns over deforestation on Madagascar led me to deploy Malaise traps with metabarcoding to monitor 50 forest sites. We also study how edible insects can be farmed at scale to alleviate pressure on endangered habitat while supplementing local diets.