I am a community ecologist who uses insect systems to study the factors that promote biodiversity. In recent research, my students and I found that dragonflies perch at different heights, reducing competition for perches and thereby reducing the chances of injury in competitive battles. Perch height correlates with body size; large species are competitively dominant, displacing smaller species from tall perches and relegating them to progressively shorter perches. My students and I are currently studying the effects of diversity on parasitism rates. Preliminary research showed that parasitism rates were lower in more diverse communities, where the abundance of susceptible species was 'diluted' among a wider array of insensitive species. I have over 30 peer-reviewed publications, and I received a Furman Standard award for 2014-17 and will continue my dragonfly research in Costa Rica.
My philosophy is that learning must ultimately be a participatory activity. To learn, we must engage knowledge deeply and truly examine patterns and processes, causes and effects. To that end, I try to provide students with myriad resources so that might find one that complements their learning style. Lectures are important to me - I invest most of my professional time creating coherent, logical, efficient lectures to help students see and understand how biological systems function. I also write study notes for students, study questions, and the answers to questions. I also record my lectures and place them on-line. Biological systems are complicated, and it is easy to get bogged down in the minutia without understanding the big picture. I take a top down approach; I develop an understanding of why a topic or concept is important, and then we examine how it works.