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Our research falls broadly in the area of population ecology, with emphasis on two overarching themes. The first is using theoretical ecology to improve conservation, restoration and wildlife management. Applied ecologists usually need to design management strategies in the absence of complete information about causes of the problems they need to manage. Ecological theory - broadly defined as different ideas about how systems work - provides a context for outlining what factors might be important, and under what circumstances they are most likely to matter. The second theme is uniting natural history and theoretical population ecology. By this we do not mean that population models should include all details of life history and basic biology. The goal of a model is to simplify systems by capturing the key processes and interactions that determine a particular response. Therefore, the question is under which conditions simplified models capture the essence of more complicated systems, in spite of being incorrect, and under which the differences between natural history and model assumptions lead to predictions that differ systematically from those of simple models.