My research goals directly address the conservation and evolutionary ecology of migratory and other animals, and the microbial ecology of both migrant and resident birds of Nearctic and Neotropical regions. My approaches stretch over multiple disciplines from evolutionary ecology to avian microbiology to eco-physiology, and to habitat ecology. Most recently I have been setting up a early-warning system for zoonotic diseases (those that are transmitted between animals and people) in Uganda (see information on the Animal Mortality Monitoring Program).
Although I have used birds as the focus for most of my work, I am not restricted to them. In fact, my research questions can easily be applied to other animals. My research integrates field and laboratory components that include molecular tools for phylogenetic, population genetic, and genetic microbiome analyses, and energetics using heart rate telemetry in the field.
Primarily, I focus on two research areas that are at the crux of vertebrate microbial ecology and wildlife conservation: 1. The microbial ecology of migratory vertebrates, and 2. Energetics in relation disturbances in animals across the natural history spectrum using heart rate telemetry. Both research areas have a strong field component and provide extensive insight into the impact of both human interference and global environmental processes like climate change.