- Environment and Sustainability
- Literature, Science, & Arts
- Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
I use theory, experiments, and observational studies to address questions aimed at understanding how human alteration of the environment impacts the biotic diversity of communities and, in turn, how this loss can affect fluxes of energy and matter that are fundamental to all biological processes. I focus on this topic because I believe that global loss of biodiversity ranks among the most important and dramatic environmental problems in modern history. Yet, even while rates of species extinction are approaching those of prior mass extinctions, we know very little about the different roles that species play in ecosystems. More importantly, we have almost no idea how the well being of our own species might be linked to the great variety of life that is the most striking feature of our planet.