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4 Research Items
I am a Ph.D. candidate advised by Dr. M. Denise Dearing at the University of Utah, School of Biological Sciences. I am broadly interested in evolutionary biology focusing on the evolution of toxic plant consumption by mammalian herbivores.
Hybridization is a common process that has broadly impacted the evolution of multicellular eukaryotes; however, how ecological factors influence this process remains poorly understood. Here, we report the findings of a 3-year recapture study of the Bryant’s woodrat (Neotoma bryanti) and desert woodrat (N. lepida), two species that hybridize within...
High-throughput sequencing approaches have revolutionized how we study animal diets by enabling the detection of dietary components from the metabarcoding of DNA in excrement. Mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase C subunit I (mtCOI) DNA metabarcoding is commonly used to study the diets of arthropod-feeding animals; however, this approach is susceptible...
Little is known about the tolerances of mammalian herbivores to plant specialized metabolites across landscapes. We investigated the tolerances of two species of herbivorous woodrats, Neotoma lepida (desert woodrat) and Neotoma bryanti (Bryant’s woodrat) to creosote bush (Larrea tridentata), a widely distributed shrub with a highly toxic resin. Woo...
Significance Understanding the factors that sculpt gut microbial communities in mammals is of great interest. Here, we studied a diverse clade of herbivorous rodents (woodrats, Neotoma ) with variable but well-characterized diets and habitats to quantify the relative contributions of host genetics, geography, and diet, alongside neutral processes,...