I am an interdisciplinary scientist that specializes in movement ecology and life history strategies of birds. I completed my undergraduate education in marine biology and zoology at Humboldt State University in Northern California and followed up with a M.S. in Ecology from San Diego State University in Southern California. Currently, I am a PhD candidate researcher at the University of Oklahoma under the direction of Dr. Eli Bridge. I study larids and their allies, a group that includes terns, gulls, and skimmers because I think they are important bio-indicators of changing resource dynamics in the environment. Species that have longer generation times may not be able to develop micro-adaptations in response to climate change. Instead they seem to develop intriguing behavioral mechanisms to compensate for aspects of environmental variation. It is a passion of mine to unearth these interesting life history trade-offs that allow for the survival of these species.
I have several ongoing research projects that focus on aspects of movement ecology that include migration strategies, foraging ecology, and the molecular components of movement in terns, skimmers, and shorebirds. I began my career working with terns while I finished my Master's at SDSU. My MS thesis focused on movements and diet of the Gull-billed Tern. After graduating, I had an opportunity to conduct work in the Peruvian Amazon tracking South American Black Skimmers over the Andean cordillera (Davenport et al. 2016) and investigating life history strategies of skimmers and terns nesting on riverine beaches. I have since expanded my species repertoire to include satellite tracking of the Gull-billed Tern (Goodenough and Patton 2019), Elegant Tern (paper in progress), GPS tracking of Black Skimmer populations in New York (in press), and nesting American Oystercatchers. I have the pleasure of working with a variety of both US and international researchers. My latest research endeavors combine my love of shorebirds and movement ecology. In collaboration with the Aeroecology Group and the Corix Plains Institute at OU, I am participating in a project to understand how body size influences movement decisions birds make in the air and I am working with North Carolina Audubon to understand the relationship between American Oystercatcher foraging ecology and reproductive success.
Aside from my research, I am an amateur photographer. Most of the photos you see here are my own.