We work primarily on reptiles, amphibians, and fishes, through combining field experiments, long-term monitoring, and metadata to understand the evolution of life histories, maternal effects on body size, temperature-dependent sex determination, phenotypic responses to climate change, and a variety of other topics.
The Algonquin Dome is an extraordinarily cool, upland region between Georgian Bay and Ottawa in Ontario, Canada. Ectotherms have adapted to the low temperatures and short growing seasons of this ecosystem over millennia. A major focus of our group is the evolutionary ecology of these ectotherms, and how they respond as their environment experiences rapid warming.
Most of our research occurs in Algonquin Park, where, for decades, we have been monitoring several species and populations of reptiles and amphibians. We are currently collaborating with Dr. Jackie Litzgus to maintain the Algonquin Park long-term turtle study, which was founded by Dr. Ron Brooks in 1972. Students are also maintaining the long-term study of spotted salamanders in Algonquin; a project that is supported and organized by Patrick Moldowan. These monitoring programs have resulted in thousands of individually-based data records on growth, survival, and reproduction. These long-term data are complemented by field and lab experiments that explore topics such as the evolution of thermal performance in cool environments, the evolution of maternal effects, and how environmental change disrupts key features of amphibian life cycles.
Finally, my group is well-equipped to perform meta-analyses, as we have access to and have compiled several life-history databases on ectotherms and endotherms.