A fundamental theme in ecology aims to elucidate the mechanisms promoting species persistence. Species are respondent to environmental and anthropogenic perturbations, and have trophic dependences that cascade through ecosystems. Thus, the ecological communities that form exhibit spatial and temporal heterogeneity. The principle goal of my research program is to evaluate the biogeography of ecological communities by examining three leading questions in vertebrate systems. 1) What abiotic and biotic factors delimit species ranges including those of conservation and human concern? 2) How are species interactions distributed across scales? 3) What are the consequences of extirpations (or expansions) on communities? I employ a variety of tools at macroecological scales and finer resolutions that integrate biogeography, community and trophic ecology, parasitology, and animal behaviour to answer these questions. In my seminar, I will discuss a diverse portfolio of research projects that include: island foxes and black-footed ferrets in North America, lemurs in Madagascar, and small mammals in Ghana. My program will continue to advance our understanding of species interactions and their shifting dynamics under future global change scenarios. Ultimately, discerning the plasticity of ecological associations is necessary to inform the vulnerability of species to external threats, and identify integral processes that promote biodiversity and community viability.
Host: Professor Catherine Badgley
Coffee and cookies served at 4 p.m.