About Me

I am a NSF postdoctoral fellow in Dolph Schluter's lab at the University of British Columbia. I completed my Ph.D at Cornell University in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology in November 2015.



I am an evolutionary ecologist who seeks to understand and explain patterns of biodiversity.  I use natural history knowledge to study both classical and cutting-edge issues in niche evolution, species interactions and how species respond to climate change. My research program focuses on three core questions in evolution, ecology and conservation: 1) What factors promote speciation? , 2) What limits species’ geographic distributions? and, 3) How is global climate change impacting biodiversity?  I often use montane avifaunas as a model system for these questions; my dissertation research investigated the abiotic and biotic drivers of elevational specialization in tropical montane avifaunas.



Latest news:

  • December 2017 -- Congrats to Graham Montgomery and Benjamin Van Doren for getting papers from their undergrad careers accepted at Wilson Journal of Ornithology. It takes a lot of dedication to see your project all the way through to publication!
  • November 2017 -- Fun to give a seminar in UBC Biodiversity series and get some good feedback - first time sharing a ton of recent (unpublished) projects.
  • September 2017 -- Great to see our study just published in The Auk getting some publicity. We present data from playback experiments that suggests 21 populations of Neotropical birds deserve species status (they ignore song from related populations). Here is a nice write-up in Discover Magazine. And check out this segment on the Discovery Channel Canada (starts at 19:50) featuring a number of Graham's nice bird photos. We even made it into Lonely Planet!
  • August 2017 - Headed into the field to study climate change impacts on Neotropical birds. Are a dozen species that only lived on the mountaintop in 1985 still there? Or have they gone locally extinct? 
  • July 2017 - Song learning is associated with slower evolution of song divergence in Neotropical birds. This does not support the idea that learning speeds speciation. Read more in Evolution
  • June 2017 - Back from the Evolution conference in Portland, where I presented my comparative studies of bird song evolution. Lots of good ideas for future directions. Plus I just learned that the first couple papers from my postdoc are now accepted at Evolution and The Auk. Soon will have lots of nice results to share from my song playback experiments...
  • March 2017 - Great trip to the Field Museum in Chicago to measure tons of birds (and give a seminar). Inspiring place to measure morphological divergence between closely related birds and contemplate the grandeur of life.
  • November 2016 - Congrats to Taylor, Reid and Eric for publishing their natural history observations showing that euphonias are facultative cavity nesters in Cotinga!
  • October 2016 - Just back from a successful recon trip to southeastern Peru - amazing to descend a single road that is home to nearly 1,000 species of birds 
  • July 2016 -  Bergmann's rule paper published in J Biogeography. There is no evidence that higher elevation birds are larger than lower elevation birds in tropical mountains) 
  • May 2016 - New article published in Ibis! Low elevation New Guinean birds are aggressive towards closely related species that live at higher elevations.  
  • March 2016 - Made the move to UBC; excited to get started on some new projects
  • Feb 2016 - Thermal tolerances in the tropics published in Diversity & Distributions
  • Dec 2015 - Undergraduates publish playback results of Costa Rica field course in PLoS ONE!
  • Dec 2015 - Condor paper on aggressive thrushes
  • Oct 2015 - New paper in Am Nat on elevational distributions