I am a wildlife ecologist whose aim is to advance understanding of the responses of large mammal populations to ecological and environmental drivers and to use that knowledge to directly inform wildlife management and conservation. I am particularly interested in the ecological impacts of plants, herbivores, and predators of the herbivores on each other. I use aspects of behavioral ecology, physiology, evolution, and chemical ecology to address ecological questions at the population and community levels. For more details about my research, please visit my Research Interests page.
I am currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Mpumalanga in South Africa and the University of California Santa Barbara. I am also affiliated with the Rory Hensman Conservation and Research Unit, and have also held affiliations with the South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON) Ndlovu (savanna) Node and Duke University. My current postdoctoral research largely focuses on understanding community-level landscapes of fear in South African savannas and exploring the consequences of woody thickening to these patterns.
I became interested in wildlife ecology as an undergraduate at the University of California Santa Cruz where I spent time tracking and collaring mountain lions with the Santa Cruz Puma Project. While I was an undergraduate at UCSC, I spent a semester abroad at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. There, I studied South African terrestrial ecology, which sparked my interest in African savanna ecology.
Once I graduated from UCSC with a BS in Ecology and Evolution in 2012, I returned to University of KwaZulu-Natal to do a Ph.D. focused on the influences of plant secondary metabolites on the foraging behaviour and carrying capacities of the African elephant, Loxodonta africana. After finishing my Ph.D. in 2017, I became a Claude Leon Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow (2017-2019) and then started my current National Research Foundation postdoctoral research appointment in 2020.
Although a majority of my current work is conducted in African savannas, I have extensive field experience working in terrestrial North American systems (redwood forest and dry chaparral) and marine systems, including California kelp forests and Pacific coral reefs. My time spent in these diverse systems has informed the way I approach wildlife ecology as a whole.