Selected Publications

Inferring large-scale processes that drive biodiversity hinges on understanding the phylogenetic and spatial pattern of species richness. However, clades and geographic regions are accumulating newly described species at an uneven rate, potentially affecting the stability of currently observed diversity patterns. Here, we present a probabilistic model of species discovery to assess the uncertainty in diversity levels among clades and regions. We use a Bayesian time series regression to estimate the long-term trend in the rate of ...
PNAS 114:14, 3666-3671

Recent Publications

  • Probabilistic models of species discovery and biodiversity comparisons

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  • Expected time-invariant effects of biological traits on mammal species duration

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  • Integrating incomplete fossils by isolating conflicting signal in saturated and non-independent morphological characters

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  • Why the Long Face? The Mechanics of Mandibular Symphysis Proportions in Crocodiles

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  • Functional constraints on tooth morphology in carnivorous mammals

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  • Adaptive radiation of multituberculate mammals before the extinction of dinosaurs

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Recent Posts

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This GSA, I will be continuing to speak on my research about the functional diversity of the North American species pool over the Cenozoic. I’m asking questions about changes to the relative diversity of mammal functional groups in response to climate covariates. In addition, my model takes into account the effects of species mass and taxonomic order on origination and survival. Finally, observation of a fossil species is a function of functional group and species mass.

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Like last year, I’m going to be running games through Games on Demand! I’ve submitted one 2-hour game and two 4-hour games. For the 2-hour slots I’ll be running Feng Shui 2, and for the 4-hour slots I’m providing the option of FS2 or Into the Odd. The 2-hour FS2 game is set in Modern Hong Kong where the players are members of the Dragons helping secure an important artifact that the Lotus are trying to steal.

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I really prefer “group” or “side” initiative as implemented in AD&D 2e and (optionally) in D&D 5e. In group initiative systems, each “side” of the combat (i.e. PCs, NPCs) rolls for initiative together; each side then takes turns acting in initiative order. During each turn, the PCs or NPCs can act in any order. At the end of the round, initiative is re-rolled (my favorite part) and the whole things starts all over again.

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None of my degrees are in statistics and I would hesitate to truly call myself a “statistician,” but all my work involves tons of statistical modeling. I learned how to do statistical analysis, and Bayesian analysis in particular, through a hodge podge of means: biology classes, blogs, a 5-week training workshop, and reading multiple textbooks. I began my journey into Bayes knowing the basics of linear regression, covariance/correlation, model selection/AIC, and multivariate data analysis methods like PCA and NMDS; and I’d only heard of MCMC and Bayes solely in the context of phylogenetic inference.

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To me the D&D 5E sorcerer is the least interesting implementation of the classes. The spellcasting doesn’t read as interesting or unique enough to merit choosing to be a sorcerer over, say, a wizard. The sorcery points seem like a wasted opportunity for real spell flexibility. The subclasses that aren’t the wild mage don’t really grab me, and that is mostly due to nostalgia as my first run through Baldur’s Gate 2 was as a wild mage.

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Projects

Functional diversity

Changes to the composition of a species pool over time

Extinction

Differences in species duration associated with functional traits

Teaching

I’ve been formally involved with teaching the following courses:

  • BIOS 20151: Introduction to Quantitative Modeling in Biology. University of Chicago. 2016. Teaching Assistant.
  • BSDG 5000: Teaching Assistant Training. University of Chicago, 2015-2016. Instructor.
  • BIOS 13107: Environmental Ecology. University of Chicago. 2015. Teaching Assistant.
  • BIO2011: Research Methods. Monash University. 2012. Demonstrator.
  • BIOL 443: Evolution of Mammals and their Ancestors. University of Washington. 2009. Peer Teaching Assistant.

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