Observing how species behave, appear, and interact in nature is how many of us first become interested in the natural world, and these very observations become the fuel we use to generate ecological hypotheses. Exploring natural history is one of the best parts of ecological research, and a central focus of my research program. In particular, I have a strong interest in the ecology and evolution of herbivore — hostplant interactions, as well as interactions between herbivores and natural enemies. This page is dedicated to natural history of the systems I study.
Currently, most of this page is dedicated to larval Lepidoptera associated with the Northern California chaparral vegetation. For my PhD, I focused on caterpillars associated with four key plant taxa in this woody shrub community (Arctostaphylos, Adenostoma, Ceanothus, and Quercus), as well as the parasitoids that attack them. By collecting and rearing caterpillars from their host plants, I was able to photograph species previously known only from their adult form, and document new associations between plants, caterpillars, and parasitoids.
* = new host plant genus (specified in bold); ^ = new larval morphology