Research in the Picardi Lab spans across taxa and systems, with the overarching goal of understanding how wildlife respond to a changing environment.
Ecological systems are inherently complex. Disentangling this complexity requires integration of multiple data sources, robust data management practices, and sophisticated analytical approaches. As such, the trademark of my work is the combined use of state-of-the-art technology (such as biologging sensors and high-resolution satellite imagery), data science, and cutting-edge quantitative methods to advance our understanding of ecological dynamics.
Our lab's research program is centered on three themes:
Informing management of wildlife and their habitats in a changing world
Habitat conservation and restoration are two of the main tools we have to protect wildlife in a rapidly changing world. Prioritizing habitat to conserve at-risk species requires an understanding of the factors driving their distribution, as well as the ability to predict how distributions will change in response to climate and land-use change. We analyze habitat selection of imperiled species to provide managers with scale-appropriate information to support habitat prioritization and conservation interventions.
Linking movement patterns, behavioral processes, and individual fitness
Movement is a behavioral adaptation to dynamic environments. Investigating links between behavioral processes, the movement patterns they give rise to, and their fitness consequences furthers our understanding of how populations cope with stochasticity and directional change. We apply concepts and approaches from the movement ecology framework to uncover behavioral processes underlying movement patterns across spatio-temporal scales. We develop innovative approaches to estimate fitness consequences of movement and understand how individual behaviors scale up to determine population-level outcomes.
Behavioral heterogeneity in animal populations
Historically, much ecological research has focused on drawing general conclusions from average responses. Only recently the remarkable behavioral variation within animal populations has started to receive attention. Variation is the raw material of evolution, and behavioral heterogeneity within populations can enhance their ability to adapt and buffer them against extinction risk. By focusing on individual variability as a focal subject of study rather than a nuisance, we address the ecological and evolutionary implications of behavioral heterogeneity within animal populations.