My Research Interests

 My research interests include understanding problems within the social-ecological system, citizen science, human-wildlife conflict, landscape/use change, climate change, phenology asynchrony, and science policy. I am interested in studying historical structures that influence where wildlife are currently found in cities, and the present day structures that will impact where wildlife are found in the future. Cities are constantly changing as humans modify the built environment to adapt for the future. Variables such as human migration within the city; built environments changing to adapt to climate change; shifting communities; residential and commercial yard management; vacant lots; rezoning and gentrification; all have the potential to impact where birds and other wildlife are found within cities. I am interested in using geographic information systems to look at past, and current patterns to help plan for cities that are sustainable, resilient to climate change, and mutually beneficial for people and wildlife. 


Urban Ecology

Urban ecology is the study of ecological processes in urban environments. Cities are complex ecological systems because the human element controls a large proportion of how cities function. Cities need to be studied not just for the harmful effects of people on wildlife and the environment, but also on ways that cities can be mutually beneficial for people and wildlife. Greenspaces within urban environments serve as ecological oases for wildlife that have adapted to live in cities, as well as for migratory bird populations. Many birds and other urban wildlife also use front and backyards as habitat, and depending on the city, residential yards can make up a large portion of the green habitat matrix in urban areas. However studies have shown that present day greenspaces are not equally managed across all socioeconomic gradients. Many historical systemic structures, such as redlining, have contributed to this unequal distribution of greenery, and therefore habitat, across the urban matrix. I am interested in understanding how this unequal spatial distribution, management and investment impacts wildlife that live in cities.

Birds and Community

Birds are a great focal species for studying the relationship between people and the environment. Birds can be found on every continent, which allows people to study them on an individual basis (residential yards), community basis (within local parks and greenways), and across multiple cities, making them an excellent focal species for multi-city comparisons and understanding differences within and between cities. Birds are wildlife that can connect all people no matter their age or ethnicity. Globally people are interested in watching and protecting birds through both individual actions and policy. This makes birds a great focal species for community engagement and community science projects with the additional benefit of broadening participation in science and communicating research with the public.



Terpin, B., Perkins, D., Richter, S. et al. A scientific note on the effect of oxalic acid on honey bee larvae. Apidologie 50, 363–368 (2019) doi:10.1007/s13592-019-00650-7

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