I received my BS in Biology in 2000 with a Psychology minor from Canisius College in Buffalo, NY. Here I studied differential migration, comparing the age and sex distribution and the timing of migration of the Red-Eyed Vireo (Vireo olivaceus) based on 29 years of television tower mortality. At the Edinboro University of Pennsylvania in Edinboro, PA my research focused on the thermoregulatory significance of basking behavior and the applicability of a cost-benefit model of thermoregulation on a northern population of Common Map Turtles (Graptemys geographica). I received my PhD from the Burkepile Lab in 2014 with a dissertation focused on the impact of predation and predation risk on foraging behavior of herbivorous fishes on coral reefs.
My dissertation was focused on how predation risk impacts herbivory on coral reefs. I examined how the threat of predation from large fishes such as grouper, barracuda, and jacks impacted herbivore diet choice, territoriality, and the spatial distribution of herbivory. I combined a series of field surveys, behavioral observations, and the direct manipulation of predation risk via taxidermy decoys of fish predators to examine how fear of being eaten impacts the ecology of herbivorous fishes.