Biodiversity distributions and conservation. I am working with NY State Parks and the Natural Heritage Program to analyze patterns of rare species and natural community distributions in NY State. The state’s relatively large range of climate zones and geological features are linked to high beta diversity (geographic variation in species composition) for many plant and animal species and ecological communities. On-the-ground studies include work by graduate student Lisa Pipino, who is conducting herpetofauna inventories in the Albany Pine Bush Preserve.
Ecological restoration. Graduate student Shabana Hoosein and I are working with NY State Parks staff to assess impacts of an invasive species on Schodack Island, in the Hudson River Estuary. This research is being done in preparation for avian habitat restoration and flood plain reclamation. Also, in collaboration with faculty from Union College and Rutgers University, we are revisiting an experimental woodland reclamation project in the New Jersey Meadowlands, to review progress 20 years after it was begun.
Forest ecology. Working in the E.N. Huyck Preserve in the nearby Helderberg Plateau, I and tracking late successional stages of native forests and aging plantations. This research involves elements of disease ecology (tree diseases), climate change (shortening winter seasons) and herbivory (overabundant white-tail deer).