About Our Research

Our research integrates three major fields:

Behavioural Ecology

Studying animal behaviour in relation to a species' ecology, evolution, and natural history is a focus of our research.

 

 We  are currently involved in projects investigating sociality and family living in reptiles, and what factors may have driven the evolution of sociality in vertebrates. We have also researched how cognition and an animal's personality affect their fitness and ability to adapt to a changing environment.

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To date, we have studied the sociality of lizards and turtles in the wild, and how their social behaviour affects their lives.

I also study the ecology of animals in a way that explicitly integrates their evolutionary trajectory.

 

Most of our research focuses on how the interaction between an animal and its environment (i.e., urbanization, characteristics of the incubation or developmental setting) shapes its evolutionary adaptations. But, we have also investigated how interactions between animals have affected selection on morphology and behaviour (i.e., colour signaling).

Seeking to understand the interplay between an animal’s ecology and evolution leads to some fascinating discoveries!

Evolutionary Ecology

The developmental environment profoundly influences individuals in ways that persist throughout their lives. I am part of a research team working to summarise how the incubation environment affects reptile development. Check out our dynamic database, and recent work at repdevo.wordpress.com.

Conservation Biology

Conservation directly benefits from our knowledge of animal behaviour and ecology. We link these three fields in our research.

 

Further, one of the overall aims of conservation is to alleviate negative, human impacts on ecosystems, flora, and fauna. Some of our work uses the scientific method to test the efficacy of conservation actions empirically to enable adaptive management and improve in conservation techniques.

We have assessed protective turtle nest caging in order to test its impact on hatchling turtles and inform their conservation. This research has directly informed the management and conservation of turtles in Canada.