My research interests are in three areas:
Behavioral and Evolutionary Ecology: I am interested in the evolution of mating systems and life histories. Most of my own work focuses on coral reef fishes, but my students have studied a wide variety of vertebrates and invertebrates. Past topics include the evolution of sex change and other forms of hermaphroditism in animals, sexual selection and the development of secondary sexual characters, the dynamics of parental care allocation, the economics of territorial defense, and social effects on life-history allocations. We have also developed dynamic models to represent sexual conflict and the factors affecting resolution. Field manipulative experiments to test these ideas and models are a critical piece of our approach.
Population Biology: Our work here concentrates on the dynamics of recruitment in marine fishes. We are interested in just what determines variability in recruitment, the extent to which recruitment determines subsequent population dynamics, and the degree to which local populations of fishes are self-seeding. Past work has combined intensive, large-scale surveys of natural settlement with experiments altering initial settlement densities, in order to determine just when and where reef-based processes become important in determining population levels.
Conservation Biology: Working with groups at UCSB and NCEAS, we have attempted to document the effects of marine reserves and to use these data to provide criteria for future reserve establishment. We have outlined the primary considerations for managers when contemplating marine reserve establishment, and these criteria are being incorporated into marine reserve design.