Below are short descriptions of several side projects associated with both my Masters and Ph.D. research or via collaboration.
Ecological diversification and assemblage structure of North American minnows
I am also interested in evaluating adaptive radiation in non-model groups. Minnows, while highly diverse, are not the evolutionary and ecological models that cichlids represent. However, they too display notable ecological diversity. Here, I am utilizing several trophic characteristics (e.g., stable isotope analysis, gut contents, craniofacial metrics, etc.) to evaluate the role of trophic-associated diversification in the proliferation of minnows in North America. I am specifically interested in their diversification along the benthic-to-pelagic axis, co-evolution of feeding morphology and diet, niche partitioning, and ecological redundancy.
Functional ecology of freshwater crustacean lineages of subtropical South America
This is a continuation of work I began during my Masters (pdf), pertaining to the functional roles of macrocrustaceans in Uruguay. I am addressing several questions using stable isotope ratios of C and N, including evaluating the relative importance of resources to four groups of crustaceans: crayfishes (Parastacus varicosus), crabs (Trichodactylus panoplus), shrimps (Macrobrachium borellii), and aegla (Aegla uruguayensis) and ultimately assess the degree to which these macrocrustaceans are functionally equivalent, especially how the unusual aeglids fit amongst the macrocrustacean mainstays of crabs, shrimps, and crayfishes.
Trophic relationships among syntopic characids in the Caixoes River, Brazil
This project is part of Karine Orlandi Bonato's doctoral research at the Universidad Federal Rio Grande do Sul. I mentored Karine in stable isotope analysis while she interned in the Armbruster lab September 2014 - February 2015. This project quantifies the relative diets of of sympatric Astyanax and Bryconamericus species using stable C and N isotopes to assess the role of niche partitioning as a mechanism by which these species coexist.
Extensions of this project involve broader scale morphology-diet patterns among characids.