I’m widely interested in insect ecology. In particular, I’m interested in the ecology of introduced populations, like invasive species, classical biological control agents, and genetically engineered insects.
My applied research goals are directed toward improved management of invasive species, and better prediction of risk and efficacy in the release of putatively beneficial insects. I shape research questions in recognition that human endeavors in ecological systems must balance multiple trade-offs in management.
In my current home in the lab of Dr. Anne Nielsen at Rutgers University I am investigating the population dynamics and biological control of the Halyomorpha halys, the brown marmorated stink bug, and the inadvertently introduced egg parasitoid Trissolcus japonicus (Hymenoptera: Scelionidae).
I’m interested in questions like:
- What factors limit consumers from colonizing new, abundant resources?
- What features of an ecological community make it resilient to invasion?
- How do organismal traits, like parasitoid host range, impact population densities in a community?
- What are the population-level consequences of different determinants of host range (e.g. preference versus performance)?
Much of my research centers on invasive species management, biological control, and ecological risk-benefit analysis. For example, I study how traits that we use to predict safety of classical biological control agents may also influence, and at times conflict with, how successful the agents are at causing our desired outcome (e.g. the reduction in harm caused by the invasive species). I utilize a combination of mathematical modelling, manipulative experiments in the field and laboratory, and observational studies.
See my publications for more information.