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I am interested in the intersection of three fields: behavioral ecology, conservation biology and physiological ecology. My research uses both field and lab techniques to examine the behavioral and physiological mechanisms of mammalian response to climate change. Specifically, I examine how stress hormone levels and behavioral activity budgets might explain why two co-occurring species of Sierran chipmunks (Tamias alpinus and Tamias speciosus) have divergently shifted their ranges in response to climate change. Although these species are partially sympatric congeners, they have displayed strikingly different biogeographic responses to temperature increases over the past century. A determination of the immediate response mechanisms that shape these disparate responses is critical to understanding what is happening and predicting what will happen as environmental change progresses. In addition to examining how animals use behavior and physiology to cope with climate change, I also plan to address how these mechanisms may help them cope with other aspects of human-induced environmental change, like urbanization, road-building, recreational land use, and pollution. Additionally, I hope to conduct more basic research examining the thermal stress limits and behavioral interactions of these species, and hope to examine hormone-behavior relationships.

In addressing these questions I use enzyme immunoassays to measure fecal glucocorticoid metabolites and use tri-axial accelerometers to measure activity budgets. I apply these techniques to animals that I live-trap along elevational gradients in Yosemite National Park and Inyo National Forest. My work is related to the MVZ's Grinnell Resurvey Project (http://mvz.berkeley.edu/Grinnell/index.html)