Research bias in invasion ecology

In my research, I investigate broad patterns in measurement biases within the field of invasion ecology. Invasive species have both positive and negative impacts on native ecosystems depending on their location, life cycle stage, and time since their invasion. In order to develop the best management practices, we must understand the array of possible impacts by invasive species.  To this end, I set about defining the measurement space within which invasive species impacts are quantified.  Then, I review impact literature from 1999-2016 to characterize the well-worn paths of the measurement landscape and encourage exploration of lesser-known taxa, ecosystems, and timespans.


Establishment Risk of an Invasive Brood parasite

The Pin-tailed Whydah (Vidua macroura) is commonly found in the pet trade and has been successfully introduced to Puerto Rico and southern California.  We have developed models that predict habitat suitability for this invasive bird based on both available climate in the US, Antilles, and Hawaii as well as host birds to complete its parasitic life cycle.  The models suggest that Hawaii, the west coast of the US, and many island in the Antilles contain suitable habitat and hosts for whydah to expand its range.

Photo: Eric Fishel

Photo: Eric Fishel

Previous Research

Piping Plover Conservation

Trustees of Reservations

I lead Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus) monitoring and camera trap efforts on Cape Poge National Wildlife Refuge, Martha’s Vineyard, MA. I piloted the island’s first camera trap protocol to capture depredation events. 

A Swamp Sparrow ( Melospiza georgiana ) after a relatively rare North Carolina snow storm (Photo Credit: Dr. Raymond Danner)

A Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana) after a relatively rare North Carolina snow storm (Photo Credit: Dr. Raymond Danner)

Winter Ecology of Swamp Sparrows

Virginia Polytechnic Institute

I assisted Dr. Raymond Danner with field research on the winter ecology of  Swamp Sparrows (Melospiza georgiana).  Swamp Sparrows are short distance migrants, and Dr. Danner's research focused on the importance of winter food abundance, especially during molt.