As an undergraduate, I was fascinated by historical ecology and evolutionary biology. Inspired by Dr. Charles Remington, I developed a long-term interest in species, speciation, and secondary contact, especially the problem of whether populations merge or separate upon meeting. I completed a senior research project that was a simple molecular phylogeny of major insect orders.
As one of Richard D. Alexander’s students, I developed my interests in speciation, reproductive isolation, and mate choice. I studied both syrphid flies (genus Arctophila) and periodical cicadas (genus Magicicada). I worked as a curatorial assistant in the Insect division of the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, and I participated in many of the active and engaging discussion groups in the Museum.
As a postdoctoral researcher, under Dr. Chris Simon, I further developed the molecular biology skills I first used as an undergraduate. I studied gene flow in a periodical cicada contact zone, the genetics of periodical cicada life cycle switching, and paternal leakage. I also contributed to ongoing systematic projects in the Simon Lab, and I collected cicadas in North America, New Zealand, and Australia.
After finishing my postdoctoral research, I taught at the University of Connecticut, Yale University, Wesleyan University, The Ohio State University, and the University of Rhode Island. I taught introductory courses, writing courses, and a variety of different ecology and evolution courses. I’ve also been experimenting with online and interactive teaching technologies.
For several years, I’ve been working on mapping species boundaries and using species distribution models to understand biogeography. The Periodical Cicada Project is the homepage for this research.