I am broadly interested in population and community ecology and statistical ecology and biogeography. My field research employs insect communities and insect-host plant systems to answer basic questions about the population dynamics of pest insects and the structure of insect communities. I am keenly interested in the causes of insect outbreaks. My work in this area has involved field and greenhouse experimental manipulations of plant phenology, plant nutritional quality, and insect predators, parasites, and competitors on both forest trees and agricultural crops. My work on the ecology of insect communities also involves field experiments on forest trees and agricultural crops. This work reflects my interest in determining the effects of predation, parasitism, competition, and the physical structure of plant canopies on insect community structure. I am also interested in the host specificity and host plant preferences of herbivorous insects as potential clues to predicting future pest problems.
My interests in statistical ecology and biogeography lie in developing probabilistic statistical procedures for the analysis of biogeographic data, in developing a framework for rigorous hypothesis testing and statistical inference using both experimental and non-experimental evidence in ecology, and in designing sampling programs to monitor temporal changes in populations and communities.
I am also interested in the origin of plant galls and in the potential to improve avian population and community monitoring by busing digital recording, and digital signal processing techniques.
I involve students, both undergraduate and graduate, in all facets of my research because I believe that involvement in research is the best vehicle for teaching science, and because I value and enjoy most that research I conduct that serves to educate and train students.