My scientific research interests lie in
community ecology. I am interested in dispersal biology and the
consequences for successional change and community structure.
Through my MS research, I became particularly interested in
consequences for plants adapted to various dispersal
I am also interested in the application of GIS technology to
explore these questions in a spatially explicit context.
I am also interested in creative methods of teaching complex concepts
in ecology and developing critical thinking skills. These include
cartoon illustrations, field trips, science fairs and presentations
delivered to non-scientific audiences.
I traveled to SE Asia from May - December, 2007. While there, I participated in an expedition to the Krakatau
in Indonesia with a group from Nottingham University. I also worked with Sabrina Russo
on a project examining the ecological basis of species coexistence in
the hyper-diverse Lambir National Forest in Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo.
In addition, I traveled by bicycle with the Cyclown Circus
, making street circus shows.
"Does wind or demography shape genetic structure in two lineages of Antillean bats?"
For my MS thesis, I investigated genetic structure and gene flow of the buffy flower bat (Erophylla sezekorni) and Waterhouse's leaf-nosed bat (Macrotus waterhousii) (Chiroptera: Phyllostomidae). E. sezekorni is endemic to the Greater Antilles and Bahamas while M. waterhousii
occurs in this region as well on mainland Mexico. I used
microsatellite markers to explore genetic substructure and asymmetric
gene flow among genetic populations. I used GIS
software and anisotropic cost modeling using wind data to
construct a measure of effective distance to evaluate the relationship between directional gene flow and wind currents.
This manuscript is currently being revised for re-submission to Molecular Ecology.
Muscarella R. and T.H. Fleming. 2007. The Role of Frugivorous Bats in Tropical Forest Succession. Biological Reviews 82(4): 573-590.
Erophylla sezekorni - photo by Merlin Tuttle