Current Lab Members

Daniel Reuman

Associate Professsor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Associate Scientist, Kansas Biological Survey
Principal Investigator
James S McDonnell Foundation Complex Systems Scholar
reuman@ku.edu
785 864 1542
Dan is interested in quantitative approaches to ecological questions, principally community, population, and landscape ecology. He is currently focused on questions of metapopulation synchrony.

Lawrence Sheppard

Postdoctoral Researcher
lwsheppard@ku.edu
Lawrence William Sheppard was an undergraduate at Cambridge University (Natural Sciences) and did his PhD in the Lancaster University Physics Department (Nonlinear and Biomedical Physics). He currently works with Dan, studying population synchrony, in collaboration with Rothamsted Research, the Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science (SAHFOS), and others worldwide. We are attempting to identify and quantify the synchronising influences in the environment on count and phenological data of aphids, plankton, and fish, as well ongoing projects on cicadas and methods.

Jonathan Walter

Postdoctoral Researcher
jwalter4@vcu.edu
Jon studies space-time patterns in populations and communities, often focusing on insect pests like the gypsy moth. His current projects focus on geographies of synchrony in a variety of empirical and theoretical settings, and the impacts of climate variability and climate change on insect outbreaks.
Jon’s website

Lei Zhao

Postdoctoral Researcher
leizhao@ku.edu
Lei is interested in population dynamics in a food web and ecological applications of complex network theory. He is also interested in the effects of warming on aquatic communities. Currently he is working on spatial synchrony and Taylor’s law and the relationship between them. Lei’s recent or ongoing projects include: 1) spatial synchrony of phytoplankton in the California Current, and 2) the determinants of Taylor’s law slopes, as well as some new forms of Taylor’s law.
Lei’s Google Scholar profile
Lei’s Researchgate profile

Tom Anderson

Postdoctoral Researcher
anderstl@gmail.com
Tom obtained a BS from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (Biology), a MS at Murray State University (Water Science), and a PhD from the University of Missouri (Biology). Tom is currently working on spatial synchrony and its causes for a variety of taxa, including freshwater plankton, white-tailed deer and amphibians. He also is working collaboratively with Dan, Lawrence, and Jon to implement recently developed methods that can test for timescale and geographic structure in patterns of synchrony in these systems. In addition to his work on synchrony, Tom has ongoing field research projects on the population and community ecology of pond-breeding salamanders, the focal organisms of his dissertation work.
Tom’s website

Past postdocs and PhD students

Brandon Mechtley

Postdoctoral Researcher
bmechtley@gmail.com
Brandon was broadly interested in the application of signal processing and machine learning to the study of population ecology and studied theoretical models of the propagation of synchrony throughout trophic networks across space at multiple timescales. Prior to working at KU, his background was in applying techniques in multimedia information retrieval and computer music synthesis to the study of acoustic ecology, specifically focusing on the analysis and synthesis of natural soundscapes.
Brandon’s website

Georgina Adams, PhD

Biogeography of marine communities: Beyond food webs and the abundance spectrum.
Graduated 2015.
georgina.adams10@imperial.ac.uk
Georgina’s background is in a mix of mathematics, evolutionary biology and ecology. For her PhD, she examined community structure in aquatic systems. Specifically, she studied spatial and temporal trends in size-based metrics of community structure, and the effects of climate and other pressures on body size in those systems. In her spare time she bakes, knits, and explores London.
Georgina’s Twitter

Emma Defriez, PhD

Synchrony in marine plankton metapopulations and the effects of climate.
Graduated 2016.
e.defriez11@imperial.ac.uk
Emma’s work focuses on global patterns of metapopulation synchrony of primary producers and changes in synchrony in plankton. She works together with Lawrence Sheppard, and with Chris Reid from the Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science (SAHFOS). Emma’s analyses have focused so far on the Continuous Plankton Recorder database of SAHFOS, as well as on satellite data on plankton, terrestrial productivity, and environmental variables; as well as on new analytic approaches to synchrony.

Bernardo Garcia-Carreras, PhD

The global effects of climate change on population dynamics.
Graduated 2012. Became a permanent researcher at the Centre for Environment, Fisheries, and Aquaculture Science.
bgarciacarreras@gmail.com
Bernardo’s work aims to improve our understanding of how populations respond to anthropogenic environmental changes, and whether these responses generalise across taxa and geographical locations. During his PhD, Bernardo worked on the effects of environmental noise on population dynamics, providing the first empirical link between the “spectral color” of environmental fluctuations and the spectral color of population fluctuations. The “spectral color” of a population or environmental time series is a measure that characterizes its temporal autocorrelation, or year-to-year persistence. Theoretical links had been well studied, but Bernardo’s study was the first empirical evidence in field systems. He also used population models to address the question of whether climate-change-related alterations in means or variances of climate signals are more important for population dynamics. Bernardo’s approach uses simple theoretical and computational models, supported by analyses of relevant case studies, and analysis of large datasets (of, e.g., climate, fishing pressure, population dynamics, and life cycle events). Currently and in the future, Bernardo is using these approaches to help policy makers manage impacts on populations.

Lawrence Hudson, PhD

Unifying food web structure and dynamics with metabolic theory: a general and modular computational approach.
Graduated 2012. Became a postdoc at Imperial College London in the lab of Andy Purvis, then moved to the London Natural History Museum with Andy’s lab. He now has a permanent research job at NHM.
l.hudson@nhm.ac.uk
During his PhD Lawrence examined the relationship between the dynamics and structure of complex, multi-trophic ecological communities. This has historically been a difficult area to investigate because mathematical models of the dynamics of systems of realistic complexity have a large number of unmeasured parameters, and whole-community data are limited and typically comprise only a snapshot or time-averaged picture. The resulting ‘plague of parameters’ means most studies of multi-species population dynamics have been very theoretical. Results are published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 2013. Lawrence also worked on methods, producing an R package that has seen substantial use in the community; and on the body-mass scaling of field metabolic rates in birds and mammals.
Lawrence’s website

Lisa Signorile, PhD

Ecological and genetic determinants of the expansion of grey squirrel populations in Italy and Britain.
Graduated 2014. Jointly supervised with Chris Carbone, Jinliang Wang, Peter Lurz, and Sandro Bertolino.
lisa.signorile@gmail.com
Lisa’s main interests are on the ecology and population genetics of small mammals and other vertebrates. For her PhD she investigated the genetic determinants that promote American grey squirrel invasiveness in Europe, using classic population genetics methodologies. Her results show that low genetic diversity is significantly correlated with reduced propensity to spread, and reduced speed of population range expansion. However, long-distance, human related translocations were the cause for the unabated and fast spread of these mammals in the highly fragmented European landscapes where the species has been introduced. Lisa also has a keen interest in promoting science, and has written books and works as a science writer in Italy to serve this aim, alongside her scientific career.
Lisa’s books (in Italian), Il Viaggio e la Necessità, Il Coccodrillo Come Fa and L’orologiaio miope.
Lisa’s National Geographic blog (in Italian).

Julieta Decarre, PhD

Diversity and structure of bird and mammal communities in the semiarid Chaco region: response to agricultural practices and landscape alternations.
Graduated 2015. Jointly supervised with Chris Carbone, Zoological Society of London.
j.decarre10@imperial.ac.uk
Julieta’s research focuses on population and community ecology, particularly on the distribution and abundance patterns of wildlife in human modified landscapes. She is interested in understanding how different agricultural practices and anthropogenic changes in land cover may affect bird and mammal persistence. She is a field biologist addressing these questions through comparative and spatial analyses. Her work also aims to improve and implement effective monitoring designs and techniques such as the use of camera traps to monitor mammalian biodiversity. Prior to starting her PhD, Julieta worked for the National Institute of Agricultural Technology of Argentina (INTA). An important part of her work at INTA was to develop strategies and management recommendations to balance trade-offs between food production and conservation needs.
Julieta’s INTA website (in Spanish).
A video related to Julieta’s work (in Spanish).

Drew Wilson

Former PhD student, joint with Tom Bell, Imperial College London.
Drew transferred fully to Tom’s lab when Dan left Imperial.

Past masters students

James Chris Terry. Detecting signatures of physiology in dynamics: direct tests of allometrically parameterized food web models. Became a PhD student at Oxford University.
Simon Mills. Measuring histories of habitat fragmentation using terrageny metrics offers fresh insight into fragmented landscapes. Became a PhD student at the University of Sheffield.
Yaodong Yang. Dispersal and island biogegraphy. Primary supervisor James Rosindell. Became a PhD student at the University of Southampton.
Laura Nunes. Potential trends in the sensitivity of long term growth rate to changes in the mean and standard deviation of environmental conditions. Became a PhD student at University College London.
Melissa Guzman. The inflationary effects of temporal autocorrelation provide persistence in multi-trophic sink metacommunities. Became a PhD student at McGill University.
Paul Rassell. Replicability of ecological community dynamics and the measures which characterize them: a study of innate variability in real and simulated communities. Became a PhD student at Imperial College London.
Shiyu Li. On the relative importance of changes in the mean and variability of climatic signals for the long-term stochastic growth rate of an age-structured population.
Rosemary Moorhouse-Gann. An American invasion: the origins, genetic diversity, and population structure of the American grey squirrel in Cumbria. Became a PhD student at the University of Cardiff.
Harkiran Bhogal. Temperature and optimal swimming speed in fish.
Sean Webber. Reconstructing the rise and demise of two squirrel species in Great Britain: Testing the role of forest cover.
Dimitrios Nerantzis. Predicting imposed chaos in the population dynamics of an insect species. Became a PhD student at Imperial College London.
Guo-Heng Chin. Abundance-occupancy relationships in deep-sea fish species. Primary supervisor Julia Blanchard.
Georgina Adams. Body size and species composition of diatoms in Icelandic streams. Became a PhD student at Imperial College London.
Yangchen Lin. The link between maximum likelihood and the forecast accuracy of mechanistic population models. Became a PhD student at Cambridge University. Yangchen won the Gerald Durrell award for best thesis in his MSc in his year.
Yesim Dodlani. Spatial and temporal scaling of the abundance spectrum.
Carmen Suriel-Melchor. The effects of climate change on bird population dynamics in North America.
Silvia Antonelli. Modeling the eco-evolutionary dynamics of a temperature-dependent consumer-resource system. Primary supervisor Tim Barraclough.
Oliver Wearn. Extinction debt in the Brazilian Amazon. Oliver’s master’s thesis work was eventually published in Science. Became a PhD student at Imperial College London.
Lawrence Hudson. Dynamics of complex food webs: Empirical verification of models. Became a PhD student at Imperial College London.
Yajun Sun. Distributions of average species body masses in local community food webs. Became a PhD student at the University of Toronto.

Past undergraduate students

Emilie Tarouilly, Imperial College London, Environmental drivers of global synchrony in phytoplankton.
Sharmila Rana, Imperial College London, Is change in the mean or the variability of a climate variable more important for extinction risk in a density dependent population model?
Richard Clifton, Imperial college London, Can extinctions be predicted after anthropogenic perturbations to ecosystems?
Jonathan Chan, Imperial College London, Competition and the effects of temperature.
Sean Jordan, Imperial College London, Competition and the effects of temperature.
Alexander Kazhdan, Imperial College London, Predicting extinctions in food webs.
Lucy Li, Imperial College London, The predictive power of R* in a two-predator one-prey Lotka-Volterra model.
Timothy Saunders, Imperial College London, What are the most important questions in ecology for the 21st century?
Ryota Nakamura, Imperial College London, Murder rates are higher when the weather is warmer.
Andrew Brockman, Imperial College London, Are top predators really on top?
Feng Wang, Imperial College London, Confidence intervals for population viability analysis.
Thomas Britton, Imperial College London, Latitudinal biodiversity gradients.
Edward Stephens, Imperial College London, An unwritten future: defining the global water shortage and the multidimensional crisis facing China’s national security.
Cai GoGwilt, Rockefeller University, New York, Population models with mechanistic stochasticity.
Daniella Schittler, Rockefeller University, New York, Emergent properties of tri-trophic interactions and food chains in food webs with abundances and body masses.