I have broad research interests in the biology of aquatic insects, their population and community ecologies. An over-arching theme in my research lies in understanding how interactions between the physical environment and biological processes influence ecological systems. More specifically, I am interested in how the persistence and coexistence of stream-dwelling insects are influenced by the fluvial landscape of stream channels, i.e. the sedimentary landscape created by geomorphological and hydraulic processes, and the temporal variations in water flow. At small-scales, this has involved work on bio-physical coupling and defining how bed topography and near-bed flow patterns influence movement behaviours and species interactions. At larger scales, this has involved landscape-scale field experiments to test how the abundance and spatial distribution of resources, in conjunction with species’ dispersal capabilities (adult flight and larval drift), determines the structure of populations and metacommunities. Because aquatic insects have complex life cycles, ecological events must be integrated across life stages to construct complete life histories and to really understand population- and community-level phenomena. Compared with larvae, the egg, pupal and adult stages of aquatic insects are largely neglected and current work focuses on understanding their autecology. Oviposition is a critical stage for insect populations and much of my recent research examines how the spatial distribution of oviposition sites and behaviours influences species distribution patterns and can lead to species coexistence within communities.
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