Assistant Professor of Biology
Areas of Expertise: Biology, entomology, ecology, forensic entomology, entomotoxicology and insect behaviour
My love for insects started during my undergraduate education when I took a course demonstrating how insects related to the world around them. Until then I never really paid much attention to insects, in fact, I often headed in the other direction. This course was a turning point for me and I loved learning how important they were and how each species had a particular role in the environment. From then on, I focused on entomology whenever I could, never knowing it would lead me here. After completing my undergraduate degree in Wildlife Biology, I continued my education in entomology, specifically looking at the ecology and behaviour of forensically related insects using field and lab-based approaches. My graduate work examined the patterns of insect succession during decomposition and how they may change over different habitats and seasons. I also focused on blow fly species interactions to determine how differences in arrival order can influence behavior at adult and larval stages.
My current research interests include furthering our ecological knowledge of what causes the patterns of succession during decomposition. By taking an ecological approach and understanding the mechanisms that determine patterns of assembly in the carrion insect community, we can further the field of forensic entomology. This work will help determine reliable indicator species for minimum time of colonization estimations. My research also focuses on entomotoxicology, where the effect of chemical compounds or toxins on larval development is studied. And finally, my lab examines species interactions in forensically important insects to determine if their colonization and larval behaviors are driven by resource-state or by biological interactions between community members.