CAUSES AND CONSEQUENCES OF BIODIVERSITY
In my lab, we study how some general biodiversity rules
create and maintain the diversity of species.
If you ever walked in a forest, you probably have noticed that some places have more species than others. Or that particular mosquitoes are more annoying at a given site. Why are some sites more diverse than others? Why are some species particularly restricted to a given habitat? These are some of the questions we try to answer in my lab from an ecological and evolutionary perspective.
Although it seems obvious that most mosquitoes live near water ponds or that trees full of fruits have more birds, at broad geographical scales, diversity patterns are far from obvious. Habitats apparently similar can have a strikingly distinct number of species depending if they are tropical or temperate, close to a large forest, or on an isolated forest fragment... (Almost) all living creatures share identical patterns of distribution, suggesting the same ecological and evolutionary rules ultimately create the current distribution of birds, fishes, and beetles. This also indicates that by understanding these rules we can predict what happens when they are changed by pollution, land-use change, etc.
In my lab, we are not committed to studying a particular taxon because we believe there are general rules governing the distribution of all diversity of life. Therefore, we study general patterns that can be useful to understand the distribution of all species. Of course, our studies ultimately need to focus on particular taxa and in a given geographical location, and we almost always collaborate with specialists. However, our focus is to provide general answers we feel will be useful for all, regardless of taxonomic preference or geographical region.
We use R and statistics!