I study the chemical ecology of poison frogs. I am specifically interested in the broader question of poison frog dietary preference: do frogs simply eat the most readily available arthropods, or have they evolved a preference for certain prey items with high toxicity?
I am also interested in examining specific influences of arthropod consumption on the chemical profiles of the poison frogs. I collected wild poison frogs from the field and use CO1 DNA barcoding to taxonomically identify the arthropod prey found in their stomach contents, and gas chromotography/mass spectrometry to characterize alkaloid profiles in both the skins of frogs and in whole arthropods. Cross-comparisons of these data provide us with insights into the evolution of poison frog chemical defense: a complex, specialized physiological adaptation on an organismal scale within an ecologically relevant context.
Outside of the lab, I enjoy playing guitar and singing, learning Portuguese, and nature walks.