ABOUT ME: My childhood in the Mojave Desert of California was filled with outdoor adventures, including many forays into the wildnerness to find reptiles and amphibians (herps). During those desert days is when my infatuation for herps began. Growing up with a herp-crazy brother only fueled the fire. Most of our free time was consumed by searching local preserves, road cruising, and keeping many of our scaly friends. Our parents offered full support for our passion, including an entire wing of the house. My early interests began with toads and lizards and grew to encompass more elusive taxa such as turtles and snakes. Keeping herps as pets also played a major role in boosting my interests by allowing a secret glimpse into the lives of the animals I adored.
My passion is the reason I do what I do today. My career is linked to my desire to learn all I can about my cold-blooded peers. This passion has sent me to Pennsylvania, where I searched for Box Turtles and Copperheads while working towards my graduate degree. It enabled me to spend time learning specimen preparation and museum curation at the State Museum of Pennsylvania and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. It landed me a field position at Powdermill Nature Reserve to study aquaticurtles. It has sent me to Central Africa four times to collect herps for my museum collections and discover new species. I want to use my adventures to promote conservation wild animals and wild places.
My early research dealt with community dynamics of snakes occupying modified environments. The project aimed to understand the effectiveness of wetland management at based on the sampling of snake communities. Other research projects included the movements and ecology of aquatic turtles, the reproductive biology of frogs, clutch characteristics of semi-fossorial snakes, population dynamics of grassland-associated snakes, and nesting activities of turtles. My other interests pertain to evolutionary origins, colonization theory, and ultimately how these concepts can be synthesized to learn something new. My experiences have taught me that a solid foundation spaning ecology, evolution, and natural history is extremely important to link data derived from diverse techniques. I believe that an open mind is necessary to my curoisity driven research at Coe College.