Our research seeks to document and respond to alterations in biodiversity in the wake of Globalization

 

Biological Invasions

 Green Iguana in Puerto Rico. PC:  Matthew Sileo

Green Iguana in Puerto Rico. PC: Matthew Sileo

The influx of non-native species into native ecosystems is one of the principle threats to biodiversity worldwide. Our research explores the influence of trade and commerce on the rate at which non-native species establish.  Using Management models and novel genetic techniques, we also explore how to monitor and manage harmful invasive animals (For more on novel surveillance Tools).

 

 
 

Coastal Conservation

 American Oystercatcher. PC:  Malcom Moniz

American Oystercatcher. PC: Malcom Moniz

Coastal ecosystems provide highly valued benefits to human populations, have consistently been a preferred location for human settlement, and have deep cultural importance that can transcend socio-economic groups.   Despite this importance, coastal ecosystems are under significant threat due to development, over-exploitation and sea level rise.  We seek to document the fate of coastal biodiversity, and work toward conserving and responsibly Harvesting species of high human value.  

 

EVOLUTION ON ISLANDS

 Eastern Bluebirds from Bermuda (top) and across their native range in eastern North America (bottom).  PC:  Julian Avery .  For more see  Avery et al. 2014 .

Eastern Bluebirds from Bermuda (top) and across their native range in eastern North America (bottom).  PC: Julian Avery.  For more see Avery et al. 2014.

Naturalists and biologists have long considered islands to be showcases of evolution. Species that have recently colonized islands either naturally or by human-mediated processes give us the rare opportunity to directly observe the dynamics of diversification.  Our research has centered on the evolution of passerine birds that have recently colonized Bermuda, Puerto Rico and the Hawaiian Islands.

 
 

Biotic Homogenization

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Expansive land use change, increases in Global trade, and climate change are together altering Earth's biodiversity.  the duel processes of species extinction and invasions, tend to erase the distinctive ecological boundaries that evolution has created.  The end result is a simplified natural world where the same suite of cosmopolitan species are encountered worldwide while the species unique to single locations are lost.  We endeavor to document the biotic homogenization of aquatic and terrestrial animals, and explore how this process diminishing our cultural connection to the places we live.