How can understanding the causes and consequences of ecological diversity help us better manage natural resources?

This question unites the pure research aspects of ecology and the growing need for that research to be relevant to pressing, interacting global challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and a growing human population.  It also connects research on the formation and impact of diversity, two major areas of ecological study, and drives my interests as a community ecologist and the work of students in my lab. We are broadly interested in understanding how environmental drivers, including impacts of human activities, interact to shape patterns in diversity and how diversity impacts ecosystem functioning and ecosystem services.  The unique properties of restored and exploited populations and chances to apply and test research findings for these groups means much our work also merges efforts to understand and manage diversity.  

In order to consider these issues across multiple scales, we employ and connect field, lab, and quantitative techniques.  While our field work focuses on local coastal and aquatic communities, we also work on analyzing "big data" collected from other communities, developing models to explain and predict how individual, populations, and communities grow, and carrying out meta-analyses to understand principles that govern community structure. Current efforts include work on interactions between oyster reef conservation and aquaculture, oil spill effects, describing diversity in hyperdiverse systems such as kelp forests and rain forests, and the practice of species reintroductions.  We are also interested in communicating research findings to stakeholders and finding ways to connect education and research.  

There are openings for new students (undergraduate and graduate) in the lab who share similar interests.  Interested students should contact me at; you can also find more information here.

Lab News and Updates

  • Congratulations to Rachel Kinney on acceptance to Bren's MESM program! Rachel will be joining the Master's in Environmental Science and Management program this fall as part of the Bren School at the University of California, Santa Barbara.  Congratulations!
    Posted Aug 5, 2017, 9:43 PM by Stephen Gosnell
  • Summer 2017 Updates This summer we've been collaborating with the River Project​ and Billion Oyster Project on a study focused on how the presence of predators impacts biodeposition in oysters. Oysters ...
    Posted Sep 7, 2017, 1:36 PM by Stephen Gosnell
  • New paper on NCE in oysters accepted to MEPS Our new paper on how non-consumptive effects are impacted by predator biomass and might impact oyster aquaculture has been accepted to MEPS! You can view the abstract and eventual ...
    Posted Feb 1, 2017, 5:40 AM by Stephen Gosnell
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