I am an invasion biologist interested in the ecology of novel and long-standing host-parasite relationships. I am specifically interested in 1) tolerance and resistance as defense mechanisms in susceptible and reservoir hosts against introduced parasites, and 2) applied control methods of introduced parasites.
Current Research - Ecology of novel host-parasite relationships:
For my dissertation work, I am studying the effects of an introduced parasite, Philornis downsi, on vulnerable and reservoir hosts in the Galapagos Islands. Reservoir hosts do not suffer the effects of the parasites and are therefore important in maintaining parasites in a population. I am currently identifying defense mechanisms that enable the reservoir hosts to deal with the parasite without a cost to fitness. Specifically, I am exploring trade-offs in tolerance and resistance defense mechanisms in both reservoir and vulnerable hosts. I am also attempting to develop a low cost, low labor method for controlling P. downsi within the nest in the Galapagos.