My long-term research goals involve addressing how and why rare species persist in communities.  In any given local habitat, only a few species are abundant, while the rest are less common or rare.  This uneven distribution of abundances is noted over a wide range of taxa and habitats; therefore, research involving rare species is fundamental for understanding diversity patterns and evolutionary trajectories of individual species.  These research interests encompass two different avenues.  The first involves studying whole communities in order to understand the relative importance of mechanisms that affect and maintain diversity.  The second approach focuses on individual species in order to understand the constraints imposed by their natural history (such as growth, and reproductive behavior), dispersal ability, and interactions with other species.  While my research goals are founded on basic ecological theory, these studies have potential applications in fields such as conservation biology and the ecology of invasive species.