As global change continues, landscapes will change in various dimensions, posing new challenges and opportunities for life. I study the mechanisms by which diverse and changing thermal and acoustic landscapes influence animal ecology and evolution, using birds as a model taxon. My approaches are empirical, experimental, comparative, theoretical, and highly quantitative. I study animals in the wild, in the museum, in physiology, development, and genetics labs, and through computer simulations. On the Galapagos Islands, California Channel Islands, and mid-Atlantic coast, I study birds along climate gradients to learn how climate directly influences ecology and evolution through thermoregulatory challenges, and how climate indirectly influences ecology and evolution by controlling food supplies. This research also investigates how seasonal environments select for phenotypic plasticity and how adaptation to local climates can lead to ecological speciation. In the San Francisco Bay area, I study how increasing urban anthropogenic noise influences bird song evolution. This research addresses several central and emerging problems in biology, and provides novel information for effective conservation strategies.
Host: Professor Chris Dick