I got my start as a scientist collecting insects in my back yard near Detroit, Michigan. Those early days have taken me rather far afield, and now I study the ecology of mosquitoes and other insects around the southern United States. I began my graduate career at Texas Tech University under Michael Willig where I explored how spatial and temporal factors affected communities of aquatic insects, including mosquitoes, in the flowers (bracts) of a tropical herb, Heliconia caribaea, in Puerto Rico. I then moved to Illinois State University for my doctorate under Steven Juliano, where I examined how microorganisms and energy flow affect communities of medically-important mosquitoes in both tires and tree hole systems. Several projects assessed community patterns of mosquitoes and interactions between native mosquitoes and the invasive mosquito, Aedes albopictus. My post doc was conducted under Steven Vamosi, at the University of Calgary, with whom I continue to collaborate to examine differences in mosquito behavior and stoichiometry within a phylogenetic framework. To date I have published 39 peer reviewed papers, two book chapters, and edited one book.
I joined the faculty at the University of Southern Mississippi in 2008, and since then I've received funding from NIH, DOD, NSF, and the State of Mississippi to explore the ecology of medically important mosquitoes. Starting in 2016, I have been working in Puerto Rico to understand how local environmental patterns, urbanization, and resources affect populations of Aedes aegypti, the yellow fever mosquito. My current funding from NSF focuses on how Hurricane Maria, which passed over the island in September 2017, affected those same mosquitoes as well as the pathogens it transmits.
As both a student and faculty member, I've spent over 12 months living in Puerto Rico. I'm traveled to most places on the island, and have working relationship with other researchers and local and federal agencies (e.g., CDC).