Our research examines the spatial and temporal population dynamics and landscape genetics of several alpine butterfly species and their host plants. Our primary research focuses on the Rocky Mountain Apollo butterfly, Parnassius smintheus and its host plant Sedum lanceolatum.
Our group is pursuing several projects ranging from basic questions involving the role of dispersal for spatially structured population dynamics and synchrony and the affects of local population extinction to more applied questions concerning the effects of rising treeline and climate change for alpine species and their conservation.
We are also interested in coevolutionary questions regarding how plants defend themselves from insect herbivory and how their defenses affect herbivores and their population dynamics.
Our approach to research is highly integrative. We investigate questions from theoretical, experimental, and empirical approaches. We seek to more deeply understand ecological patterns, not simply describing them, but understanding their basic mechanisms from genetic, physiological, and behavioral perspectives.