Research Statement

Ecological systems are complex.  Each is arranged into nested hierarchies of components, ranging from organic molecules and cells through populations, species, guilds, and trophic levels. They require the continual input of energy, material, and information to maintain their highly organized, far-from-equilibrium thermodynamic states.  Even the simplest contain thousands to billions of individuals of tens to thousands of different species, ranging from unicellular prokaryotes, protists, and fungi to multicellular plants and animals.  These individuals and species interact with each other and their extrinsic abiotic environment in inherently non-linear ways.  Such relationships are neither entirely deterministic nor stochastic, include positive and negative feedbacks, and often possess long-lasting contingent effects across both space and time.

These realities form the base of my research, which addresses fundamental issues underlying biological diversification and the organization of ecological communities.  I have vertically integrated my activities to range from organism taxonomy through population, community, and spatiotemporal ecology to biogeography, macroecology, and ecological modeling.  To ensure that my outlook does not become myopic, I have also horizontally integrated this program across three divergent taxa groups:  vascular plants (sessile autotrophs), lepidoptera (mobile heterotrophs), and terrestrial gastropods (functionally sessile heterotrophs). In addition, I maintain an active field research program which spans thousands of study sites on three continents.  I am particularly interested in documenting findings that challenge current paradigms, as it is through such observations that the greatest advances can be made. The end result of these actions is a sharper understanding of our biological world and development of safer and more efficacious methods to conserve its diversity.     

To find out more about my specific research activities, please follow the fractal icon link below.  From the resulting page, you may follow the specific icons to learn about my interests in (1) Taxonomy, Floristics, and Faunistics; (2) Population and Community Ecology; (3) Spatio-Temporal Ecology; (4) Biogeography and Macroecology; (5) Ecological Theory and Modeling; and (6) Conservation Biology.  You may return to this page by following the central fractal icon. Within each subtopic, links are provided to PDF files of all relevant published works; those works touching on multiple interest areas will be listed separately under each corresponding topic.

Last Edit: July 9, 2016 Return Home