AquatiQuE Lab - UNC Greensboro

We study Aquatic ecosystems using skills of Quantitative Ecology. We are particularly excited about combining theoretical, statistical, and field-based approaches to address fundamental and applied questions in spatial ecology. Looking for opportunities? Visit Join for available options. Current key topics in our group include the following:

Branching complexity and biodiversity in rivers

Rivers recurrently join to form a fractal branching network, in which geometric properties (e.g., branching patterns) remain similar across spatial scales. We are interested in how this “scale-invariant” complexity drives ecological systems. We tackle this question with mathematical models and big-data synthesis. Core part of this project has recently been funded by NSF (link). Photo credit Pixabay

Non-random dispersal

Dispersal is a fundamental process that mediates disease spread, metapopulation/metacommunity dynamics, and food webs. Although dispersal is often assumed to be a “stochastic” event in population/community ecology, behavioral ecologists have long recognized that dispersal is triggered by internal (e.g., body size) and/or external (e.g., disturbance) factors. We are interested in integrating behavioral aspects of dispersal into population and community ecology. Photo: Masu salmon Oncorhynchus masou masou

Cross-system trophic interactions

Ecosystems are not a stand-alone entity; rather, they are connected through resource flux across ecosystems. We are interested in how aquatic and terrestrial food webs are connected through animal migration (e.g., the emergence of aquatic insects), and how food web interactions mediate transfer of energy across ecosystems. Photo: Ground beetle Brachinus stenoderus eating aquatic insects emerging from the river

Applications of spatial theory to wetland conservation

We use metapopulation/metacommunity theories to identify important areas to maintain regional population persistence of wetland species. We are currently working on the bog turtle and Topeka shiner, both of which are highly threatened by human activities. Photo credit: Melanie Stadler