My research interests fall into several interconnected categories that relate to the management and conservation of biodiversity and natural resources.
1) Ecological Monitoring
An integral part of the management of natural resources is response information to policy options provided by ecological monitoring. Although researchers and ecologist collect vast quantities of monitoring data, often, these data fail to be useful for informing management processes. My research interest is the use of simulation and estimation tools to inform and refine monitoring designs so that objectives can be refined, expectations can be moderated, and data will provide the needed information. Projects I am currently working on include, evaluating the use of hierarchical models that account for incomplete and variable detection for informing the management of exploited marine reef fish (In collaboration with NOAA researchers) and evaluating common methods for describing patterns in biodiversity from an experimental and monitoring perspective and the potential for spurious results. Past projects have included various evaluations of sampling designs and estimation methods for monitoring both aquatic and terrestrial biota.
Many biotic communities and ecosystems are under threat due to habitat alterations, exploitation and invasive species. Evaluating spatial and temporal patterns in biodiversity is key for developing management prescriptions that can navigate delicate trade-offs. Currently I am collaborating with researchers from The University of Western Australia, Charles Darwin University, Victoria Department of Primary Industries, and LaTrobe University to evaluate how environment flows can be used for the conservation of native fishes in the Murray-Darling River basin, Australia. I am also collaborating with researchers from Conservation International Peru to evaluate spatial patterns in fish species richness along the Madre de Dios River, Peru, to inform potential impacts of hydroelectric development. Past projects have included evaluation of fisheries regulations that provide optimal trade-offs between fisheries and conservation objectives as well as evaluations of the efficacy of mechanical removal of non-native invasive fishes including flathead catfish in the Southeastern U.S. and rainbow trout in the Southwestern U.S.
3) Fisheries management
Fisheries collapses have been documented for both commercial and recreational fisheries, worldwide. As the global human population grows, the economic and environmental consequences of inappropriate management continue to increase. It is therefore increasingly important that management be explicit and well informed. My research interests are evaluating policy options for fisheries, particularly when conservation is a management objective. I’m currently collaborating with researchers from Humboldt University, Germany, to evaluate the efficacy of fisheries stock enhancement of freshwater lakes that contain native fish stocks. Past projects have included evaluations of length-based policy options to balance fisheries and conservation objectives and evaluations of the efficacy of spawning season closures for Black Basses in the U.S.