Welcome to my Augustana College Conservation Biology Laboratory website. This site is designed to allow students and collaborators to access information about my courses and my research. Please do feel free to contact me via email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or stop by my office (Room 148A) or laboratory (Room #13) if anything you see here should be of interest.
My research is focused on questions surrounding biotic and abiotic interactions in threatened ecosystems. I am interested in how animals evolve solutions to fitness-related problems associated with communication, reproduction, competition, and response to stochastic ecological conditions. To test hypotheses regarding these evolutionary problems, I study several insect systems.
Insects are wonderful study subjects, as they provide us with countless examples of innovative behavioral strategies. Some current insect systems under study include:
- Response to ecological disturbance in the endangered American burying beetle (Nicrophorus americanus) and its congeners
- Male acoustic display and female mate choice in the lek-mating prairie mole cricket (Gryllotalpa major)
- Vibrational communication in the New Zealand giant weta (Anostostomatidae)
I conduct my field research at two primary study sites: The Nature Conservancy's Tallgrass Prairie Preserve in Osage County, Oklahoma, and Matiu/Somes Island Scientific Reserve, Wellington, New Zealand.
I encourage students interested in gaining research experience in conservation biology to arrange a meeting with me to discuss potential research opportunities, available funding sources, and application deadlines for participating in field projects.
Our research team is currently working on several projects:
The effects of natural and anthropogentic disturbance factors on insects of conservation concern; Elisabeth Jorde, Courtney Moore, Christina Johnson, and Nicole Lindsey.
The effect of sensory pollution on animal reproductive behavior; wind turbine seismic environment influences burial latency in the American burying beetle; Courtney Moore and Christina Johnson.
The role of substrate-borne signals in mediating male-male contests in the New Zealand Cook Strait giant weta; Claire Bestul and Ashley Schmidt.
Life history trade-offs in regard to reproductive decisions in the burying beetle, Nicrophorus marginatus; Anna Bahnson and Brooke Woelber.