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Ecology

Behavioral and Geophysical Factors Influencing Success in Long Distance Navigation

Navigation in the open ocean has challenged humans for millennia. Nevertheless, animals around the world regularly accomplish astonishing feats of navigation. My research utilizes quantitative methods to better understand the biological mechanisms that enable such remarkable navigational feats. First, using computational modeling, I explore whether large marine animals, such as the gray whale, use the earth’s magnetic field to migrate, and describe natural sources of electromagnetic noise that can disrupt this sensory modality.

Two bees or not two bees: towards a mechanistic understanding of variability in individual and collective responses of insects to ecological stressors

Social insects, like the bumblebee, are essential to global agroecosystems, contributing to the pollination services needed for roughly a third of consumable crops. Given their global importance, and evidence for declines of pollinators, it is imperative to better understand how insects respond to ecological challenges- including overuse of pesticides and increased competition. These stressors are encoded by insect sensory systems, which can in turn affect interactions between individuals and the resultant collective decisions.

(In)Equities in Higher Education: Describe, Disrupt, and Scale

Educational inequities remain one of the most persistent and intractable problems in our society. Without equity, the STEM workforce will be unable to meet the needs of the growing economy and will also suffer from stunted innovation. Despite widespread efforts to increase access to and inclusion in STEM, minoritized students remain excluded from both STEM majors and STEM professions. The reasons for this exclusion are complex but instructors can play an active role in disrupting these inequities.

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