The optimal animal, born with some amount of energy, proceeds through its life gaining and expending energy according to some schedule that maximises its total reproductive output.
– Schoener (1971)
My research integrates evolution, ecology, and physiology to address basic and applied research questions
INTEGRATING METABOLIC THEORY AND LIFE-HISTORY THEORY
Life-history theory seeks to understand the causes and consequences of key relationships in biology, by linking common patterns observed in nature to strategies that optimise individual reproductive success. Metabolic theory describes how the flow of energy through a living system, drives patterns and processes in biology.
My research integrates these fields to address important questions in ecology, for example – how does offspring size scale with metabolic rate? how does developmental temperature affect the costs of development?
Maternal investment is often summarised as the contribution of an egg – or some package of DNA and nutrients. While the humble egg is a key component of maternal provisioning, is cannot on its own explain the complex interplay between mothers, offspring and their environment.
I am interested in maternal investment across many different aspects, including offspring size, behavioural plasticity, and endocrinology. My postdoc work at Lund University focussed on how maternal provisioning varies across wall lizard populations spanning altitudinal ranges.
A fundamental goal of ecology is to understand how and why species diversity changes across time and space. This understanding is critical for developing effective management and conservation strategies.
My work at the Sydney Institute of Marine Science investigated the patterns and processes driving biodiversity in marine kelp-associated ecosystems around Australia.