Phenological change and the implications of mismatch
There is concern that ecological interactions are becoming increasingly mismatched in time as a result of climate-driven changes in the timing of key life history events. It is important to not only quantify the degree of phenological change across trophic levels, but also to understand the role that temporal variability has played in shaping these systems. This work seeks to explore the links between abiotic conditions and phenological and demographic processes across a wide range of bird taxa, in both the Southern Ocean and North America.
Environmental forcing and demographic processes
Understanding how abiotic processes drive population dynamics is key if we are to assess the impacts of environmental change on ecological systems. However, even within an ecological community, species may respond quite differently to the same environmental perturbations. This work is focused on several questions related to community-level synchrony in demographic processes, the role of environmental variability in population dynamics, and what these can tell us about how systems might cope with future environmental change.
Remote sensing of food web dynamics
Large-scale environmental change is shifting the composition of food webs, with unknown implications for ecosystems as a whole. By assessing dietary shifts in predators, such as penguins, we can understand how food web dynamics are changing over time and space, and what the demographic consequences of these changes are. This work uses a multi-tiered approach, employing remote sensing, spectroscopy, and stable isotope analysis, to quantify penguin diet from satellites. This provides a novel way to monitor shifts in Antarctic food web dynamics over the last several decades on a continental scale. Additional work using DNA metabarcoding and stress hormone analysis seeks to explore linkages between diet, microbiome, and stress responses in Antarctic penguins.