The goal of my program is to conduct research that answers important contemporary questions related to the conservation and management of amphibians. Interactions with state and federal managers, and staff of NGOs has played an important role in determining what information is most needed and has helped formulate questions. I support research that bridges disciplines, and combines current thinking and needs in multiple areas to approach and answer these questions.
Further, I also strongly encourage research that is experimental, and therefore, has a component of direct manipulation. Our large-scale field experiments have become a paragon in our research program. Yet, I clearly recognize and cultivate in my students the importance that any manipulation have a natural basis, whether derived from descriptive data taken from the literature or collected in the field. This anchor to the field is important so that our results can be used to make inferences back to natural systems and real life problems.
Our research in conservation biology is well anchored in experimental and long term field studies on basic population dynamics. My students and I believe that critical problems in conservation can only be solved by understanding underlying processes, i.e., ecological, behavioral, or genetic mechanisms, rather than simply describing the pattern of change or effect. Without understanding the process, change and solutions cannot be affected. Our combined efforts are focused in this direction.