I am a conservation biologist, tropical field ecologist, & herpetologist with experience in international environmental policy and a strong background in writing/editing. I am passionate about education both in and especially outside of the classroom, as well as effective science communication.
Currently, I conduct fieldwork in Ecuador, where I study amphibian communities in agricultural-forest matrices. I have also worked in the jungles of Madagascar, Peru, Honduras, the Philippines, Australia, Costa Rica, and Malaysian Borneo--mostly with frogs and/or birds.
MSc in Animal Behavior, Cornell University 2015
MPA in Environmental Science, Policy, & Management, Columbia University 2011
BA in English Literature & Biology, Cornell University 2009
Human actions have become one of the dominant forces driving the outcomes of a classic question in ecology: Why are species found where they are? The distribution of any given species over space and time is influenced by the interplay between its traits and environment. The most pervasive threat to tropical biodiversity is the conversion of natural ecosystems to agriculture. However, species/populations react to disturbance in different ways: some seem to persist (and sometimes even thrive) in human-dominated landscapes, while many others remain exclusively in fragments of their once contiguous habitats. My research aims to understand what traits (natural history & dispersal) and abiotic factors (acoustic space) influence why some species are more tolerant to disturbance than others.
Mason, N.A, R.M. Brunner, M. C. Ballen, I. Lovette. 2018. Cognitive and Social Benefits Among Underrepresented First-year Biology Students in a Field Course: A Case Study of Experiential Learning in the Galápagos. Frontiers [In press, November 2018].
Scheffers, B.R., R.M. Brunner, S. D. Ramirez, L.P. Shoo, A. Diesmos, S.E. Williams. 2013. Thermal Buffering of Microhabitats is a Critical Factor Mediating Warming Vulnerability of Frogs in the Philippine Biodiversity Hotspot. Biotropica 45: 628-635.
Brunner, R.M. et al. 2010. Back to its Roots: Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation via the Copenhagen Accord. Reconsidering Development Vol.1, No. 1.
Honors and Awards
National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow (GRFP)