Dr. Brown joined the Biology faculty at CSUSM in Fall 2002 after conducting postdoctoral work at the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research (previously center for Conservation and Research for Endangered Species). Dr. Brown’s current research involves various aspects of conservation, restoration and physiological ecology of vertebrates, with a focus on native reptiles.
B.A. University of California, Berkeley
Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles
My research interests stem from a curiosity of the intricate relationship between an animal and its environment. How do species respond to environmental perturbations? What characteristics enable some species to survive when faced with habitat disturbance and fragmentation, while others disappear? Which biotic or abiotic habitat features are critical to the survival of certain species? What traits allow introduced species to become “pests”? These are examples of the broad ecological and conservation questions I find interesting.
To date, my research projects have focused on various aspects of reptile biology ranging from physiological ecology to conservation and management. Although reptiles constitute an important part of many ecosystems, they often do not receive as much public or scientific attention in the conservation arena as do other vertebrates. In fact, certain species such as rattlesnakes may be intentionally persecuted. By conducting intensive field studies of model reptile species, I hope to provide published scientific information that will facilitate the conservation of reptile species in management programs. My current research projects largely encompass three areas:
In the past several years I have become greatly involved in increasing access to research experiences and student success for students through several grant and donation supported opportunites and initiatives.
Victoria Apaldetti is developing molecular methods to assess the dietary ecology of Blainville's Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma blainvillii) at several locations in San Diego County.
Andrew Cacciaguida (2021) studied the long-term recovery of bird populations post-fire in Mediterranean habitats of southern California. Thesis title: Wildfire, habitat change, and avian diversity in a Mediterranean ecosystem.
Kendall Hines (2019) recently completed her research on the habitat characteristics associated with lambing sites of Peninsular Big Horn sheep. Thesis title: Post-partum Habitat Use for Peninsular Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis nelsoni) in Southern California.
Jennifer Keating- McCullough (2011) conducted an acoustical study using Raven of the vocalizations made during mating encounters of Giant panda in China and at the San Diego Zoo. She is now employed by Southwest Fisheries Science Center. Thesis title: Implications of vocalizations during giant panda breeding encounters.
Bethany Principe (2009) studied the over-wintering habits of Southwestern Pond Turtles (Clemmys marmorata) using radio-telemetry to track turtles in both San Diego (Santa Margarita Ecological Reserve) and Riverside (Santa Rosa Plateau) Counties to determine their annual movement patterns and locations of hibernacula. She is currently working for the Mission Resource Conservation District in Fallbrook, CA. Thesis title: Population demographics and overwintering ecology of southern California Pacific pond turtles, Actinemys (Clemmys) marmorata