Research

Stressful environmental conditions can reduce fitness of individuals. When changed environmental conditions lead to a reduction in survival or reproductive output of individuals, and when these conditions maintain, they can lead to permanent damage. To understand how animals avoid environmental stress, we need to understand the links between animal movement and population dynamics.

This understanding is also needed to contribute to conservation questions, such as: Can viable populations exist in protected areas? Are local populations separated by unsuitable habitat sufficiently connected to avoid local extinction? Will restored habitat be colonized? Can reintroduced populations sustainably establish? Can populations track environmental changes resulting from global change?

The movement responses of individuals to the changing spatial distributions of resources over landscapes will affect their individual performance and, in turn, population-level dynamics. Although individuals may be able to adapt to changing conditions, stressful conditions can impose directional selection because of their effects on fitness. Examples are evolution of resistance or tolerance for parasites, adaptations to cope with extreme ambient temperatures, and selection for greater dispersal ability in fragmented landscapes.

I extensively studied animal movement and population ecology in stressed environments:

 

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