My research involves integrating physiology, morphology and behavior to investigate nutritional outcomes and to integrate this knowledge into an organism-based model that is nutritionally, organismally and ecologically explicit. Field and laboratory research projects are available in the following areas:
1) Morphology and Physiology
- Linking mandible morphology with feeding and nutritional niches.
- Plasticity in morphology and physiology of the gastrointestinal tract.
- The endocrine and neurohormone mechanisms controlling the release of digestive enzymes and gut emptying.
2) Plant-insect interactions, Nutritonal and thermal ecology
- Predicting nutritional consequences for herbivores from plant and animal traits.
- The interactive effects of body size, nutrition and thermoregulation on host plant use.
- Temperature affects the toxicity of secondary compounds in mammals, this has not been studied to date in insects.
- The interactive effect of water and macronutrients on nutrition and foraging.
3) Movement and foraging ecology
- The effect of nutritional state on locomotion. Modeling foraging behavior requires an understanding of how nutritional state affects patterns of movement. The aim of this research is to parameterize an agent based model that links the nutritional state of an organism with its behavior, and in turn its interactions with other organisms and thus individual fitness, population growth rates and community dynamics.