Small mammal ecology in the Smoke Creek Desert, NV

Quality science education is critical to the development of thoughtful and responsible citizens in all walks of life.  My goals as an educator are to promote the excitement of discovery among my students while developing their skills for effective collaboration, synthesis, and articulation. This requires creatively weaving together lectures, small group work, inquiry-based hands-on assignments, field experience, assessment, and one-on-one support when needed.  In addition, I am committed to involving students and the broader community in my research, providing opportunities for direct field and laboratory experience.


Current Courses

Ecology (BI370)
This course consists of an introduction to the scientific study of the processes that shape the distribution, structure, and dynamics of populations, species and their communities.  Topics include the methods and approaches of ecological research, the distribution of biodiversity across the globe, the interactions between species and the climate system, the processes regulating population growth, how species interact with one another, the impact of species extinctions and invasions on ecosystem services and function, implications for conservation, and the varied and profound impacts of humans on ecological systems.

Biogeography (BI481)
Biogeography is the study of the present and past distribution of biodiversity.  It is inherently multidisciplinary, integrating data and approaches across many fields within the physical and natural sciences.  The focus of this course is on the abiotic (geological and climatological) and biotic (ecological and evolutionary) factors that govern the assembly of species diversity across space and through time.  An understanding of biogeography is central for studies of biodiversity, global change, and conservation in today’s rapidly changing world. The course format consists of a mix of lecture, computer-based activities, and discussion.

Paleobiology (BI427)
Fossils are a fundamental component of the rock record and provide the only direct evidence of past life on Earth.  They provide basic information for both geologists and biologists on topics like climate change, tectonic plate motion, the origins of biological novelty, the nature of mass extinction, and the history of biodiversity.  They are also increasingly used to establish natural baselines to inform modern conservation efforts.  This course represents a process and systems-based study of the marine and terrestrial fossil record.  The course focuses on preservation and taphonomy, macroevolution, the extinction of biotas in the context of the environmental history of Earth, biomechanics, paleoecology, and climate change.  The course format consists of a mix of lecture, lab activities, a term-long original research project, and one required weekend field trip to the John Day National Monument.