My group has a broad interest in the evolutionary ecology of ectothermic vertebrates. My group heads several long-term studies on reptiles (1972 – present) and amphibians (1990 – present) near their northern range limit, and we compile meta-data on a variety of topics. Our goal is to use model systems, meta-data, and long-term ecological data to understand the evolution of life-histories and their sensitivity to environmental variation. Some of our projects are applied in nature and are designed to inform conservation decisions, but these projects are nevertheless rooted in fundamental principles of evolutionary ecology.
My graduate students spend significant time performing research in the field, usually based at the Wildlife Research Station, which borders a wilderness zone in Algonquin Provincial Park. My undergraduate students typically use large datasets to inform fundamental problems in evolutionary ecology and conservation, and some undergraduate researchers also perform experiments in the field. Typical topics at all levels of study are (1) the origins and consequences of environmental sex determination, (2) the evolution of thermal performance, and response to rapid climate warming, and (3) condition-dependent life-histories and maternal effects.
I’m currently accepting applications from graduate students that have an interest in the evolutionary ecology of amphibians, reptiles, and fishes (our wet lab for cold-water fishes is currently under construction). I am looking for students who are motivated, imaginative, and who take the initiative. My students work on projects that I design for them, or on projects they have designed themselves. I give students the freedom to be creative while remaining available for advice, trouble-shooting, and suggestions. I encourage students to be well read, both in the classic and current literature of their field, and students ought to graduate with strong statistical skills.