Luke is a population ecologist with a special interest in the evolutionary relationships between social behaviour and demography. He aims to understand how animal breeding systems are shaped by extrinsic social and ecological environments and by intrinsic phylogenetic constraints. To accomplish this, Luke’s work focuses largely on studying sex-specific variation in mating strategies, parental care, reproductive success, survival, and movement in wild avian populations. His main study system is the shorebirds (suborder Charadrii), whose diverse life histories and extreme tractability in the field make them ideal organisms to exemplify fundamental principles of ecology and evolutionary biology. Furthermore, as many shorebird populations worldwide are in decline and threatened, an important applied aspect of Luke’s research is to understand vital rate variation in light of population viability and conservation. Through his experiences as a field ornithologist, he understands the limitations of avian survey methods and the issue of imperfect detection. Therefore, a core component of Luke’s research is modelling population dynamics with mark-recapture methods. Luke strives to make his analytical work as transparent as possible using tools that facilitate collaboration and reproducibility.
Luke is also the webpage designer of the ÉLVONAL project.