My main focus is the tropical forest biome, which contains a staggering proportion of the world’s biodiversity but is understudied and under threat. Within the tropics, my research focus is on the insects and arachnids, especially those groups that perform vital ecosystem functions. One of my specific interests is in understanding and predicting how invertebrate communities respond to external impacts, both immediate disturbance and long-term climate shifts, and how these will affect the ecosystem functions that they perform. This area of study both builds on and informs bottom-up research on invertebrate life-history, as well as elucidating functional patterns within communities. Wider interests include examining how shifts in ecosystem functioning will affect the broader forest community, how these relationships vary over medium and broader scales, and how this might be modelled and predicted in order to inform conservation planning. Additionally, I’m interested in researching how spatial variation and complexity in forest structure and microclimate affect invertebrate community structure, especially in the forest canopy.
My current PhD research focuses on arthropod communities in the tropical forest canopy, how climate change may affect the canopy environment thus these communities, and how novel techniques in the fields of genetics, robotics and rainforest science can aid in such a study. More information can be found on the page about my PhD.
- I am experienced in both design and implementation of field research, having carried out many of my own studies and having supervised undergraduate students, both in the rainforest and other habitats
- I have organised equipment and staffing logistics and sampling protocols for many successful field seasons.
- I have strong mathematical and computing backgrounds which underpin my skills in statistics (including meta-analysis), modelling and GIS.
- I have broad practical and technical skills, from trap design and construction, to tree climbing, to robot design and construction.