Research

My research is currently focused in two areas. In work conducted in collaboration with the UCLA Center for Sustainable Urban Systems, I am investigating the integration of energy systems in physical communities. We are developing a method for assaying and quantifying energy flows, including embedded energy, through regional urban systems using an enhanced type of “urban metabolism” analysis.

I am also interested in the methods by which complex scientific information is communicated to decision makers. In particular, the relationship between scientific information transmission and the ways that information is utilized, understood, and acted upon by different types of decision makers. It is often assumed that science flows to decision making in a one-way direction. In reality, scientific information is used in often ad hoc and piecemeal ways by decision makers. It serves as one type of factor in the decision making process and is subject to intentional and unintentional misinterpretation.

In addition, scientific research is influenced by societal problems and the needs of decision makers. By investigating this “two-way street” between science and society, I am trying to both enrich science by supporting use-inspired basic research and the decision making process around complex environmental issues.

Previous Research Experience

Coalescent-based modeling of effective population sizes of founding populations of invasive species. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2006-2007.

Characterization of the global distribution of mitochondrial haplotypes diversity for mammals, insects, and angiosperms using published GenBank data. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2006-2007.

Evolution of coloration in East African cichlid fishes, including gene expression analysis, molecular evolution, and comparative genomics. University of Konstanz, 2004-2006

Morphometric analysis of the Lake Tanganyika adaptive radiations of cichlid fish, primarily the modeling of the role of ecology in driving shape change in diversifying lineages. University of Konstanz, 2005-2006.

Population genetics of a sympatrically speciating Central American cichlid fish, using mitochondrial gene and microsatellite analyses. University of Konstanz, 2005-2006

Comparative phylogeography of neritopsine gastropods (collected in French Polynesia, Samoa, Europe and the Middle East), including DNA extraction, PCR, cycle sequencing, and sequence analysis. UC Berkeley, 2000-2004

Conservation genetics of an endangered spring snail, Theodoxus valentina, from Spain, with A. Martinez-Orti. Universidad de Valencia, Spain, 2002-Present

Biogeography and Phylogenetic Relationships of Theodoxus (Gastropoda: Neritidae). Zoologische Staatssammlung M√ľnchen, Munich, Germany and UC Berkeley, 2001-2002

Mark-recapture experiment to estimate population size and vagility of freshwater neritid gastropods. University of California Gump Research Station, Moorea, French Polynesia, 2000

Analysis of phylogenetic pattern of speciation and extinction in marine limpets using molecular phylogenetics and fossil data, with D.R. Lindberg. UC Berkeley, 1999-2000

Computer simulation and algorithm development of asymmetric pattern detection in phylogenetic trees, with D.R. Lindberg. UC Berkeley, 1999

Patterns of morphological diversity and disparity in inarticulate brachiopods. University of Southern California (honors thesis project), 1997-1998

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