Our group studies the ecological consequences of declining biodiversity – by whatever means possible.
As such, we have neither organismal nor system bias. We study plants, animals (vertebrates or invertebrates), and microbes, and we have worked in marine, terrestrial, and freshwater habitats.
We believe that changes in biodiversity, either through local extinction or biological invasions, is the single most important and dramatic problem in contemporary ecology.
The figure below shows an example of how we might approach ecology. In this case, we wish to know how loss of a bird species might impact an ecosystem. We would use principles in community ecology to understand how the herbivores might respond to loss of their predators and how plants might respond to changes in herbivore abundance. We do not stop there, however. We would go on to see how plant inputs, through litter or root exudates, might affect soil fauna and microbial communities and how such changes might affect nutrient and energy cylcling. Ultimately, we might apply what we have learned about the loss of a bird species to changes in the atmosphere, biosphere, and lithosphere.