Assistant Professor of Biology
I am interested in how animals respond to novel environments - especially those altered by human development. My research focused primarily on the responses of songbirds to the increasing levels of anthropogenic noise. Past work has been published in scientific journals such as Global Change Biology and Behavioral Ecology and covered by media outlets such as BBC World News. However, one of my primary objectives is to provide data-driven research that directly impacts the management of songbird populations. Along these lines I have studied which species are impacted by noise and which ones can alter their behavior in ways that helps them to persist in noisy areas. I have also investigated the use of song playback as a way to facilitate the return of songbirds to landscapes where they have been lost.
In addition to my research, I teach at Calvin College where I intentionally engage students in real-world conservation issues through classroom research and applied activities. I also believe in collaborating with conservation agencies. The current project stems from many discussions with biologists at the US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Forest Service, and Michigan Department of Natural Resources. These relationships ensure that I am collecting data relevant to the management of the species of concern. It also ensure that the results from my research will be integrated into on-the-ground species management.