My Research Interests
My research interests vary widely by ecosystem and organism, but
focus on how ecosystems respond to perturbations, either natural or
man-made, at scales ranging from the individual through the
landscape. These responses can offer clues on how to manage or
restore them. I believe that science, often through simple models,
can ask the right questions and help solve problems, rather than
being an end to itself.
My dissertation was on the interactions of El Nino, Peruvian guano
birds, fish, human fisheries and ticks. I then worked on seabirds
and fish in Southern Africa and Galapagos and, finally,
here in Hawai`i.
A stay in Athens, Georgia got me interested in understory herbs in
the Great Smokey Mountains. A job in New York had me investigating
why we had made the Northeast such a great place for deer,
white-footed mice, and the deer tick, all ingredients of the Lyme
Most recently in both Alaska and Hawaii, heavy administrative
demands on my time have conspired to make most of my research
vicarious, done with teams or with grad students. In Alaska I led a
group that examined why seabirds failed to recover from the oil
spill of the Exxon Valdez, while another effort examined how
much of Alaskaís biodiversity was contained in its protected areas.
I have continued to be involved in a study of the winter migration
of Arctic Terns and their relation to oceanographic features.
In Hawai`i, I have become interested in how conservation works and
whether it is at the right scales in time and space to make a
difference and how science fits into it. Iíve written reviews of
seabird management and conservation science in the islands, and an
examination of the invasive species committees, a uniquely Hawaiian
creation. I was also principal investigator of a biocomplexity
project on avian malaria, examining whether new approaches to
science might yield answers to the biggest threat to the islandsí
endangered forest birds.
Hawai`i doesnít lack for problems, and I continue to be interested
in seabirds, emerging diseases, and landscapes, here and elsewhere.