Broadly, I am interested in intraspecific behavioral variation, including the mechanisms underlying individual differences in the spatial and temporal niche and how this variation may be an important driver of ecological processes. I aim to perform research that elucidates the role of individual behavior in species interactions such as competition and plant-granivore interactions, as well as the response of individuals to environmental change. I enjoy designing and implementing field experiments and I particularly enjoy working with small mammals such as Peromyscus spp. because they (1) play important roles in ecosystems as prey sources, granivores, seed dispersers, and reservoirs of disease, (2) they are relatively abundant and geographically widespread, and (3) they are undeniably cute and fun to observe!
My current research in the Orrock lab focuses on temporal partitioning by small mammals that is driven by ecological factors (such as environmental or social/predator cues) and whether this may be an understudied component influencing the prevalence and transmission of Lyme disease. In my current work I am collaborating with NEON small mammal biologists and using activity timing data collected from a network of sites across the country.
My previous research at the University of Maine has focused on the ecological consequences of animal personality, using the small mammal community of Maine’s temperate mixed forests as a model system. Specifically, I investigated the influence of animal personality on demography, habitat selection, and granivory/seed dispersal across forests with different management histories.
Email: brehm3 (at) wisc.edu