How does physiology determine a species' range?
A fundamental problem in ecology is to explain the uneven distribution of a species across space. My research blends physiology and biophysics in simulation-based models to identify the mechanisms that determine a species geographic range. I have used physiological simulations to identify the importance of water loss physiology in structuring the geographic range of salamanders. My research has found that salamanders exhibit ecologically relevant resistance to water loss that helps to predict where salamanders can live across the Appalachian landscape. Read more here.
How does physiology influence climate vulnerability?
Extinction rates are predicted to accelerate over the next century due to human-caused climate change. My research program focuses on the physiological and behavioral traits that are necessary to predict extinction risk under climate change. To answer these questions, I combine experimental data with computer simulations of warming to understand how animals might deal with warming climates in the future. Salamanders, for instance, exhibit remarkable physiological plasticity that increases their resistance to extinction. Read more here.
How does heat and mass flow between an animal and their environment?
Animal are in a constant state of energy flux with their environment. Whether it is heat, mass, or water, the exchange of these different forms of energy requires certain physiological and behavioral adjustments to maintain a state of balance. My research uses computer simulations to generate predictions on the physiological and behavioral responses to their environment using thermodynamic and biophysical theory. These simulations are a powerful tool to understand the impact of climate change on animals. Read more here.