Anna Dornhaus' main interest is understanding the evolution of organization in groups. This includes how collective behaviors emerge from the actions and interactions of individuals, but also the ecological conditions that promote the evolution of particular collective strategies. She studies as model systems social insect colonies (bumble bees, honey bees and ants) in the laboratory and in the field and uses mathematical and individual-based modeling approaches. Recent work has included the role of communication in the allocation of foragers to food sources and the relevance of this for mutualistic interactions (e.g., in pollination or in ant-plant mutualisms); the evolution of different recruitment systems in different species of bees and how ecology shapes these recruitment systems; speed-accuracy trade offs in decision-making and learning and how they affect signal evolution; and whether different group sizes necessitate different organizational strategies.
I joined the Mt. Graham red squirrel monitoring project, headed by Dr. John Koprowski, as a wildlife biologist in 2005. I am responsible for the project's spatial data sets, processing telemetry data, analyzing squirrel space use, hiring and keeping track of the telemetry research assistants, contributing to project publications, and carrying out fieldwork at our field sites on Mt. Graham and in the White Mountains. I am also fortunate to be able to help out with other research projects within our lab group. Since joining the project I have developed an inordinate fondness for squirrels, especially tree squirrels, and enjoy studying their behavioral ecology and close association with forested landscapes. I am also very interested in the ecology of sky islands and the amazing faunal diversity of the southwest. Prior to joining the project, I received my master's degree at Idaho State University with a post-baccalaureate certificate in geotechnoloiges. My previous research projects have included the thermal ecology of burying beetles, and how burying beetle population density tracks their resource base (rodent density) in alpine meadows. I have also worked on projects monitoring birds, modeling groundwater pollution and sediment layers using spatial statistics, and creating habitat models.
Broadly, my interest is evolutionary ecology, but my passion is understanding variation in life history strategies, both within and among species. My dissertation research concentrated on the influence of juvenile mortality on the expression of reproductive strategies. Particularly, how individuals occupying safer environments alter parental care strategies and reproductive effort. Currently, I am examining the ecological conditions that influence stopover site selection for migratory birds. Particularly how vegetative phenology, food availability and predation risk interact with individual condition to influence habitat choices and subsequent behaviors.
John Koprowski's research interests focus on the integration of basic ecological research into conservation and management decision making. He prefers to investigate basic ecological questions that have the potential to be applied to real-world problems in the conservation of biodiversity. As a result, many of his research group's studies focus on model species that are threatened or endangered or ecosystems that are rare or undergoing rapid change. His team enjoys collaborative work on a local, regional, national, and international scale and continuously seeks cooperators to investigate the impacts of climate change, population growth, and other anthropogenic influences.