"A general theory of evolution would be rooted in a hierarchical view of nature, and will possess a common body of causes and constraints, but will recognize that they work in characteristically different ways in the material of different levels. . . The new theory will restore to biology a concept of organism." - Stephen Jay Gould (1980).
My fundamental interests are in understanding the mechanisms that produce evolution within vertebrates. With a particular emphasis on understanding the mechanisms behind biogeographic distributions and phenotypic evolution.
To study biogeography, I utilize a combination of GIS and specimen collection data, to analyze different environmental factors which may serve to limit species distributions. This data is then evaluated in a holistic framework which brings in organism traits such as metabolism, ecology, and phylogeny to understand species distributions, limits, and their evolution.
To study phenotype, I integrate developmental data along with empirical data from the extant and fossil records. Here my goal is to understand the potential range of phenotypes which can be expressed developmentally. And then to understand the realized range of phenotypes expressed within populations and species. This allows me to explore the overlapping and non-overlapping phenotypic-space occupied by populations or species to identify limits in overall phenotype and how those phenotypes have evolved.
Projects in Evolutionary Morphology:
Evolutionary and developmental constraints on morphological structure in rodent dentition.
Evolutionary and developmental constraints on the shape and structure of the inner-ear of tetrapods.
Evolutionary morphology and phylogenetic systematics of fossil and extant testudinoid turtles.
Projects in Biogeography:
Biogeographic distribution and population genetic structure of microtine rodents in North America.
Biogeographic distributions and ecological limitations of extant turtles.