We are interested in the structure and function of complex biological and ecological systems, with a particular interest in behavior and ecology of social insects, and their role in agro-ecosystems. We are especially interested in developing scalable, automated approaches for quantitative behavioral ecology, and use bumble bees as a primary model system. Some examples of recent and ongoing projects are below.
Pesticides and social behavior
We are studying the impacts of insecticide exposure on social behavior and colony performance, and are focusing particularly on how these impacts depend on environmental context (e.g., external factors such as temperature, or internal factors such as nutrition and colony size
Plant-pollinator interactions on a changing planet
Current work in the lab is focused on understanding the impacts of environmental change (e.g., elevated atmospheric CO2 and drought) on plant-pollinator interactions and pollination services, and the role of variable response across species
Behavioral variation in social insects
We use bumblebees to study how individual variation (e.g., in physiology, behavior, learning ability, etc) drive group performance, and how they vary between and within species along ecological gradients.
Automated monitoring of pollinators
We are developing scalable, low-cost technologies for detecting and identifying pollinators in the field. We are particularly interested in using these approach to monitor biodiversity and characterize functional diversity within pollinator communities. We are especially interested in how these dynamics play out in agroecosystems, and in the role of crop diversity and management practices