Research Summary

Avian ecology, biogeography, climate change, conservation biology, ecosystem services, ecotourism, keystone species, landscape ecology, ornithology, mountains, restoration ecology, tropical biology

Education

  • Doctor of Philosophy, Department of Biology - Ecology, Stanford University Center for Conservation Biology
  • Bachelor of Arts, Biology, Harvard University
  • Bachelor of Arts, Anthropology, Harvard University

Biography

I am a conservation ecologist, ornithologist, tropical biologist, and nature photographer (www.naturalphotos.com). My doctoral research focused on the causes and consequences of bird extinctions around the world. I have conducted ornithological fieldwork in Alaska, Angola, Colorado, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Turkey and Uganda to investigate the ecological factors behind the extinction-proneness of certain groups, such as tropical understory insectivores. I have an extensive ongoing bird banding and radio tracking study in Costa Rica to understand the factors behind the disappearance and survival of tropical forest bird species in human-dominated landscapes. I have compiled and continue to analyze a database of all the world's bird species to understand the distributions and determinants of avian life history traits and extinction correlates, and to assess the implications of avian extinctions on bird-mediated ecosystem processes and services, such as pollination, seed dispersal, and control of insect outbreaks. In addition to my empirical research, I am currently conducting community-based conservation projects in Ethiopia and Turkey. Our objectives are to integrate conservation education, research, capacity building and income generation, to increase the contribution of ecotourism, especially birdwatching, to community-based conservation in the developing world, and to improve the role of the private sector in the conservation of biodiversity. My ultimate goal is to prevent extinctions and consequent collapses of critical ecosystem processes while making sure that human communities benefit from conservation as much as the wildlife they help conserve.