Research

Variation in fire-stimulated germination and flammability in California shrubs

Perceptions and familiarity with wildfire in Northern California

Lichen community recovery in Northern California chaparral

Fire regime variation on island and mainland systems

Past Work: As an undergraduate, my research was in the realm of paleobiology. Under the advising of Dr. Neil Shubin at the University of Chicago, I studied the lower jaw of the well-known transitional fossil Tiktaalik roseae—the “fish with wrists”—and the relationship of lower jaw evolution to the fish-tetrapod transition. My project used observation of the original fossil alongside analysis of CT scans and creation of a 3D computer model of the lower jaw. I measured mechanical advantage and muscle cavity volume in Tiktaalik and its relatives in order to make inferences about feeding behavior and lifestyle evolution, and I ran a phylogenetic analysis based on jaw characters. My work found that Tiktaalik’s jaw reflected a key transition in feeding behavior and added to evidence that the animal lived at the water surface. Read my bachelors thesis here, learn more about the Shubin Lab here, and check out Tiktaalik’s awesome website here.

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