Heteromyidae Morphology and Phylogenetics
I am interested in heteromyid rodent (pocket mice) morphology and phylogenetic relationships. These wonderful critters are abundant in the fossil record of North America and have living relatives today. In my undergraduate thesis work, I created a new landmarking scheme to distinguish two heteromyid genera that were previously undistinguishable in the fossil record. I am currently applying this landmarking scheme to fossil specimens to better resolve the heteromyid fossil record. Images from Wyatt et al., 2020 (submitted to the Journal of Mammalogy).
Heteromyidae Paleoecological Trait Evolution
In addition to how heteromyid rodents are related to each other, I am also interested in using heteromyid rodent fossils to better understand continuous ecological variables and quantify the realized niche space of heteromyid rodents in the modern and fossil record. In fossil heteromyids, quantifying interspecific variation in body size and diet can help us understand how heteromyid rodents react to climatic and landscape shifts in deep time. Images from Wyatt et al., 2020 (submitted to the Journal of Mammalogy).
Rodent Community Response to Landscape Evolution
Studying rodents provides a unique opportunity to study local-scale changes during times of landscape evolution and climate change. Rodents are very diverse and represent almost every diet and locomotor type found in mammals. Rodents also have shorter generation times than large mammals, which allows populations to react faster to environmental changes. I am interested in rodent changes in body size, locomotor mode and diet in techtonically active regions.