Our Research
A general description to our research
The risk-management ecology lab integrates theory with empirical studies to understand how organisms manage risk and the consequences of these defense responses on trophic interactions, ecosystem dynamics, and evolutionary processes.

We employ a mechanistic approach developed from the perspective that ecological processes and patterns, at the individual to ecosystem levels, are regulated by changes in the integrative expression of behavioral, morphological, physiological, and life history traits. Trait expression is shaped by evolution and is constrained by conservative biological processes. Thus, understanding how biological and physical changes in the environment affect individual traits and their integrative function can reveal evolutionary ecological patterns that are relevant across organisms and systems. In particular, we explore the role of functional traits in a food web context... See More >>


Consequences of predation to desert isopod trophic function
Ecological science has largely treated the study of the organismal and biogeochemical aspects of ecosystems as separate scientific enterprises. This is in spite of growing evidence that species interactions in food-webs can determine the nature of elemental flux and cycling More info...

This large project (ECOSTRESS) aims to advance a new general theory that links plasticity in prey responses to predation and biogeochemical processes to explain context-dependent variations in ecosystem functioning. More info...

Evolution of conspicuous defense traits
Prey species often exhibit conspicuous traits (colors, patterns and behavioral display) that seem to make them more vulnerable to predation. More info...

New research is beginning to show that predators may play a significant role in the delivery of critical life-support services such as ecosystem nutrient cycling. This role emerges from direct nutrient excretion More info...