Over the last decade, my career has undergone a transition from discovery-based ecological research that has distant applications to conservation, to synthesis-based analysis and education that more immediately affect conservation practice and capacity generation. By 2000, I became dissatisfied with a research agenda that diagnoses the threats to biodiversity from human development and explores theoretical questions in model systems. Although I am very proud of my work with Clarkia concinna, which has comprised a primary focus of my work, I am more highly motivated to focus my energies more directly. Thus, I have turned first to more applied research in a long-term collaborative project on avian conservation in Puerto Rico, and then to an extensive revision of a major advanced conservation biology textbook, and finally to a series of shorter analytic projects undertaken at the specific request of individuals from major conservation organizations. I now focus my scholarship primarily on educating future conservationists and current practitioners, and in working closely with conservation groups to assist their immediate conservation agendas. I still work in discovery-based projects in collaboration with my students as well.
I would love to collaborate on new work on population dynamics in a metapopoulation of an annual plant (Clarkia concinna concinna (Onagraceae)). In the course of twelve years of work on this species, I have explored colonization dynamics, influences of differing pollinators and impacts of variation in the pollinator community over space and time on pollination success, and the relative impacts of pollination limitation and resource limitation on reproductive success. I documented a marked threshold effect whereby sufficiently small and isolated patches of the plant do not receive effective pollination services, and suffer higher extinction rates than plants in large, well-connected patches. Most recently, I have begun work on a model to predict trajectories of subpopulations based on their spatial distribution, environmental gradients of suitability for growth, and spatial patterns in the likelihoods of pollination, herbivory, and seed dispersal. Using data from ten years of my research, I wish to test whether I can predict the population size and spread 2-5 years into the future.