I serve as Assistant Unit Leader (Asst Director) of the USGS Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit, and have joint appointments on the faculty of both Wildlife Biology and Division of Biological Sciences of the University of Montana.
My research centers on understanding the ecology and evolution of phenotypic traits that are also important to conservation. Birds are used for tests because behaviors and fitness components can be readily measured and they are widespread across habitats and ecosystems.
I focus on questions within four areas all centered around bird breeding biology: what are the ecological and evolutionary determinants of: 1) Life History Strategies and Population Dynamics, 2) Species Coexistence, 3) Habitat and Nest Site Selection, and 4) Social Behavior and Sexual Selection? These topics include examination of responses of birds and their habitat to climate change, anthropogenic disturbance, large ungulate browsing, and land management programs.
Field work is conducted in an ongoing long-term (since 1985) study of climate change and ungulate browsing effects on birds, mammals and plants of a high elevation riparian system in northern Arizona; a field study on the effects of conifer incursion in aspen habitat on bird diversity and reproductive success in central Montana, plus field studies of tropical birds in Kinabalu Park in Malaysian Borneo.
Graduate students work on these sites.