I am a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin Madison, in the Ives Lab. I was awarded an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship in 2010 and plan to use that funding to continue my work with kleptoparasitic insects and game theoretical modeling of behavior; using theory and field studies to analyze cost/benefit ratios in a variety of insects.
My interest in behavioral ecology began in 2008 with an NSF funded math/bio research fellowship. In the two years I participated, our group learned about work at the interface of mathematics and biology by modeling the behavior of a kleptoparasitic dung beetle called Onthophagus taurus. This beetle steals brood balls from other individuals and lays its own egg within the stolen ball, effectively stealing the time and energy used to create the resource. Fascinating, both from a biological and game theoretical viewpoint.
From there I built a model of a similar behavior in Argyrodes spiders, through a UNCG-funded undergraduate research assistantship.
I spent the summer of 2009 in Costa Rica supported by Duke University’s Organization for Tropical Studies REU program. My project involved a study of an insectivorous understory bird population (Henicorhina leucosticta). We did population counts of Henicorhina and comparsion counts of two similar birds, as well as a study of microhabitat characteristics. This was very different from the research I’ve done previously, but I enjoyed it thoroughly, and appreciated the experience in another type of field research.
In my off time I love backpacking, hiking, and kite flying, really anything to get me outside! I’m planning to take up snowshoeing now that I’m back in the snowy north, however if the cold gets to be too much, you’re guaranteed to find me in a local coffee shop reading a good book.