Graduate Students & Postdoctoral Fellows
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Summary of Research Interests
Volker Bahn
My main interests are Macroecology and Conservation Biology. In particular I'm interested in the spatial patterns in the distribution of abundance of a species across its range. Beyond the influence of the physical environment, I believe that dispersal, population dynamics, and habitat configuration have been underappreciated as major processes influencing distribution patterns. Resulting spatial patterns in species' distributions of abundances, such as spatial autocorrelation, have been underutilized for improving model predictions. My current research as a postdoc aims at a) elucidating these processes and the resulting spatial patterns, and b) creating improved distribution models based on the gained spatial ecological insights.
Erika Crispo Summary of research interests: My interests lie in the study of population structure and the evolution of biological diversity. I use microsatellites to infer patterns of selection and neutral processes that have shaped populations in nature. Presently, I am incorporating information on phenotypic plasticity into my research, so that we may better understand its role in population divergence and ecological speciation.
Kathryn M. Flinn
My main research interest is the ecology of plants — at multiple levels, from populations to landscapes. I am particularly interested in how disturbance regimes, environmental conditions and biological processes interact to influence patterns of diversity and distribution.
Mitchell Irwin
Mitch’s research examines the effects of forest fragmentation on diademed sifakas (Propithecus diadema) and other primate species at Tsinjoarivo, eastern Madagascar.  For his Ph.D. research, he documented sifakas’ dietary shifts in forest fragments, and associated changes in ranging, activity and social behavior.  For his current postdoctoral research, under the supervision of Dr. Colin Chapman, he is examining the longer-term effects of nutritional stress and disease on the same population.
Shawn J. Leroux My main research interests are in community ecology, ecosystem ecology, and conservation biology. Particular research topics are food web theory, meta-ecosystem theory, protected areas design, natural disturbance modelling.
Xavier Morin My research mainly focuses on the processes driving tree species distribution, from local to global scale. I am particularly interested in understanding through which processes climate change will impact species distribution, and what drives tree biodiversity patterns.
Georgina O'Farrill
My PhD project broadly addresses three basic conservation issues associated with declining populations of the Baird’s tapir: 1) Assess the current status of the tapir’s population in the region through density, habitat use, and movements; 2) Predict the effects of anticipated future land cover changes on the tapir’s population and vice versa; and 3) Understand the consequences of tapir’s population changes for the dominant tree species, Manilkara zapota (zapote), through its interaction with the tapir (seed disperser vs. predator).
Katja Räsänen
My research focuses on understanding the processes and mechanisms of adaptive divergence in response to locally varying selective pressures, the constraints to this adaptation, and how adaptive divergence can lead to ecological speciation.
Erin E. Reardon

My research will integrate theoretical insights from life-history literature and physiological mechanisms to explore the life-history consequences of alternative DO environments in the mouthbrooding African cichlid, /Pseudocrenilabrus multicolor victoriae/. I focus on the interactions among body size, energetics, and oxygen-uptake efficiency in three life-history stages: embryo, juvenile, and parent.

María del Carmen Ruiz-Jaén My research examines the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem function in natural communities in tropical forests. My research questions are: (1) How the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem function can be detected in a natural varying environment?, (2) What is the role of environment in this relationship?, and (3) How this relationship varies with spatial and temporal scale?
Xavier Thibert-Plante
Research Interests: Speciation, Complex Systems, Prisoner's Dilemma, Genetic Algorithms
Inke van der Sluijs
My research interests are in phenotypic plasticity of respiratory traits, evolutionary ecology, speciation by sexual selection, and hybridization in cichlid fish. Adaptations in respiratory traits facilitate survival in habitats that vary in oxygen availability. Hybridization can eventually lead to a loss in biodiversity but theoretically it can also generate novel phenotypes and thereby facilitate speciation. Sexual selection by mate choice of females can play an important role in divergence of cichlid fish species.

[Last update: Apr. 10, 2008]