>> Welcome to my website!  I recently completed my Ph.D in Ecology at the University of Alberta, in Edmonton, Canada, under the supervision of Dr Jens Roland. My Ph.D research examined the effects of rising tree line on the plants and insects of an alpine meadow community in the Canadian Rockies; I'm currently involved with a project in Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan, on populations of a threatened butterfly, and in various writing and science communications projects. On this page you'll find information about my research, some science writing, and a few other items. I've tried to keep things accessible to as wide an audience as possible by avoiding technical terminology wherever I can—so please explore, and enjoy.

 
 
Parnassian larva enjoying lunch... Rising tree line in the Rockies...

Rising tree line poses a significant threat to the health of alpine meadows in the Canadian Rockies and around the world. The reason for this is superficially simple: as global temperatures slowly rise and allow trees to grow at ever higher elevations, the trees eventually encroach into alpine meadows, which naturally occur just above tree line. This reduces overall meadow area, and more importantly for species like the Rocky Mountain Parnassian butterfly, it fragments the meadow that remains. Of course the situation is more complicated than this. Why, for instance, don't the alpine meadows move uphill along with the trees, maintaining the relative status quo? And what's so special about alpine ecosystems in the first place? Like so many issues in Ecology, the answers show how the seemingly unrelated elements of our world are really connected. More...

 
 

>> Always more analysis!

After my latest field season in Grasslands National Park, Iím back in Edmonton making sense of the data we collected during the summer. I've been working on a project in Saskatchewan with Parks Canada on the threatened butterfly Apodemia mormo, commonly known as the Mormon metalmark. Although relatively common in the central US, this species is found in only two locations in Canada and is considered threatened. I'm monitoring the Grasslands National Park population to determine its full extent, and to learn more about the unique challenges facing species at the edge of their ranges. Such species are often at the very limits of their environmental tolerance, and must seek only the most suitable habitats to survive. This, in turn, can help reveal a species' true habitat preferences.

Outside of the world of research, I'm excited to be involved in science communication work as a writer and consultant. A lot of primary academic research is hard for non-academics to understand, making it difficult for knowledge users (the energy and natural resources industries, for example) to stay on top of relevant research. By acting as an intermediary between knowledge producers and users, I work to facilitate understanding and the adoption of best practices.