Post-Doctoral FellowNorth Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
Senior Research FellowUCLA Center for Tropical Research
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North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
My current research focuses on reproductive variation, and how natural variation in wide-ranging species can help us predict how organisms will respond to global warming.
I began working in the tropics as a field assistant in Sabah, Borneo immediately after college, studying distributions and movement patterns of stream-dwelling frogs. For my master's degree, I examined the relationship between health and reproductive success of a small parrotlet (Forpus passerinus) in Venezuela. Since then, I have worked as an assistant herpetologist for Operation Wallacea on Sulawesi, have conducted preliminary dissertation research trips to Thailand and Malaysia, and have assisted on and led collecting trips in Thailand for the Field Museum of Natural History.
Since April 2005 I have been conducting field work for my dissertation, examining reproductive variation in three wide-ranging frog species (Microhyla heymonsi, Rana erythraea, and Polypedates leucomystax). I am using call and genetic (16S) data to determine whether they are indeed the same species in an aseasonal location (Singapore) and a seasonal one (Sakaerat Experimental Research Station, Thailand). Concurrently, I am collecting data on clutch size and (for P. leucomystax) egg size to determine whether these frogs adjust to the shorter breeding season in Thailand by increasing their reproductive output.
My goal is to continue researching tropical anurans with an eye for conservation. My work on reproductive variation across climatic gradients, coupled with a study of reproductive variation in congeneric sets of species with different elevation ranges, will contribute to our understanding of how organisms respond to climate change. I plan to continue researching ecology of anurans and would be interested in collaborating on such projects in tropical areas outside of SE Asia or on similar projects in other organisms.
Current Research Projects
Reproductive variation in wide-ranging frog species. This project examines variation in reproduction and development in three common SE Asian frogs in two drastically different environments (one in central Thailand with a six-month dry season, one in Singapore that is aseasonal). In addition to measuring clutch size, I am conducting experiments on tadpoles to determine whether the two populations respond similarly to decreasing water levels. Theoretically, tadpoles should not retain the ability to respond to changing water levels where they do not need it (where water levels are constant or predictable). By examining whether both populations respond to changing water levels helps us predict how
Reproductive variation in congeneric sets of species with different elevation ranges. This project examines differences in clutch size in congeneric sets of Asian frog species. Some studies have shown that within a species, clutch size decreases and egg size increases at higher elevations. The goal of this project is to determine, using museum and field specimens, whether this pattern holds true at higher taxonomic levels. To test this, I have examined clutch size in museum specimens for multiple species within six genera. These data will be supplemented by field work conducted on Mt. Kinabalu (Sabah, Malaysia) in May 2007.