I am a mammalogist and vertebrate community ecologist. I teach nonmajors biology courses and courses for biology majors at both the undergraduate and graduate level. In addition to teaching, I am active in research and serve as major professor to graduate students as well as on committees for other graduate students.
My research interests are broad, but most fall under the umbrella of mammalian community or population ecology. One of my current graduate students is examining small mammal community composition in hemlock cove forests and neighboring non-hemlock forest stands. Another graduate student is examining the effect of hardware and software on the ability to detect the presence of the endangered Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis) from recorded echolocation calls. A recent TTU graduate (M.S., 2012) whose graduate committee I served on investigated the population ecology of Northern long-eared bats (Myotis septentrionalis). Northern long-eared bats have been proposed for listing as endangered under the US Endangered Species Act and a final decision on the listing is due by October 2014. I am an expert on the ecology of two rare bat species in eastern North America: the southeastern myotis (Myotis austroriparius) and Rafinesque's big-eared bat (Corynorhinus rafinesquii).
Rafinesque's big-eared bat, Corynorhinus rafinesquii
Southeastern bat, Myotis austroriparius
In addition to my bat work, I also have extensive experience working with mid-sized mammalian predators (raccoons, opossums, and striped skunks) investigating population trends and interactions between the species. I am especially interested in questions related to the conservation of imperiled species. I hope to do future research with the eastern spotted skunk (Spilogale putorius), a once-common furbearer that is now rare throughout most of its range.
Northern myotis, Myotis septentrionalis
I am a Tennesse native, raised in rural southern middle Tennessee. I spent seven years as a faculty member in the biology department at Freed-Hardeman University in western TN. Immediate prior to coming to Tech, I spent a year as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology at Northern Michigan University in the city of Marquette in Michigan's remote Upper Peninsula.
As a biologist, Tennessee (and the southeast) is an exciting area to work because of the great diveristy of landforms. These different areas create unique habitats for characteristic assemblages of organisms, such that you can find very different biological communities in close proximity to each other. This also means that the biodiversity of the region is very high, so there are lots of organisms (and interactions) to study.