Tropical Ecology

 

Through the years I have maintained a modest tropical research program, focused on the New World tropics.  In the past I have been involved with large-scale conservation efforts in Ecuador in cooperation with a non-profit organization called the Maquipucuna Foundation run by my colleagues and friends Rebeca Justicia and Rodrigo Ontaneda. Our work at Macquipucuna mostly involved the development of an adaptive bird monitoring program that is state of the art, but can conducted and updated by local people.  It featured monitoring done in the major land types in the region, including various types of agriculture.  My lab’s tropical research has mostly involved assessing how areas such as shade grown coffee agroecosystems function relative to primary forests.  Do they contain keystone species such as army ants, and key attendant bird species?  Do birds behave the same in the different ecosystems in terms of flocking, foraging, and the like? 

More recently, the focus has shifted to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve through UGA Costa Rica where I co-teach a summer course on insect and bird natural history. Additionally, one of my graduate students, Ryan Malloy, conducts his research examining how changes in winter habitat quality and quantity affect migratory bird populations.

Overall, my research in the tropics is consistent with my interests and work in ecosystem management elsewhere.