Darcy gets NSF

We have just learned that Darcy has been awarded an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. This is a highly competitive program (there were only 21 awarded across campus this year, and no others in Bren) gives Darcy 3 years of fellowship funding and will allow her to make research trips to Palmyra during the school year.


Please join me in congratulating Darcy!

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Lab Meeting today at 11 in BH 3017

That’s the Biogeography lab, just down the hall from my lab.

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EEMB 595TE: organizational meeting, Monday October 1st, at noon in LSB 4307

This is something that most lab members should be interested in.

Details from Cherie Briggs:

EEMB 595TE is the weekly seminar/discussion group for topics in Ecology and Evolutionary Theory, organized by Roger Nisbet, Steve Proulx, and Cherie Briggs. The first meeting for fall quarter will be Monday, October 1st at noon in LSB 4307.

The tentative plan for this quarter is to have people present their current research (rather than working through a book or following a particular theme), but in 595TE we always take requests from the group if there are topics that people would like to cover this quarter.
See you there,

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First lab meeting

We’ll be meeting at a special time on Sept 27 – 11 AM. This is because Tal is giving his PhD defense at 3 that day – all come!

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Joint lab meetings with Biogeography Lab

We are going to experiment with doing joint meetings with the Biogeography Lab (Frank Davis) this fall. At the moment we are scheduled for Thursdays at 3PM – place and initial meeting date TBA

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James’s stochastic connectivity paper is now out in Am Nat!

Watson, J.R., B.E. Kendall, D.A. Siegel, and S. Mitarai. 2012. Changing seascapes, stochastic connectivity, and marine metapopulation dynamics. American Naturalist 180: 99-112. [link]


The probability of dispersal from one habitat patch to another is a key quantity in our efforts to understand and predict the dynamics of natural populations. Unfortunately, an often overlooked property of this potential connectivity is that it may change with time. In the marine realm, transient landscape features, such as mesoscale eddies and alongshore jets, produce potential connectivity that is highly variable in time. We assess the impact of this temporal variability by comparing simulations of nearshore metapopulation dynamics when potential connectivity is constant through time (i.e., when it is deterministic) and when it varies in time (i.e., when it is stochastic). We use mathematical analysis to reach general conclusions and realistic biophysical modeling to determine the actual magnitude of these changes for a specific system: nearshore marine species in the Southern California Bight. We find that in general the temporal variability of potential connectivity affects two important quantities: metapopulation growth rates when the species is rare and equilibrium abundances. Our biophysical models reveal that stochastic outcomes are almost always lower than their deterministic counterparts, sometimes by up to 40%. This has implications for how we use spatial information, such as connectivity, to manage nearshore (and other) systems.

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Crow’s paper on coordinated ecosystem management now in print

White, C., C. Costello, B.E. Kendall, and C.J. Brown. 2012. The value of coordinated management of interacting ecosystem services. Ecology Letters, 15: 509-519. [link]


Coordinating decisions and actions among interacting sectors is a critical component of ecosystem-based management, but uncertainty about coordinated management’s effects is compromising its perceived value and use. We constructed an analytical framework for explicitly calculating how coordination affects management decisions, ecosystem state and the provision of ecosystem services in relation to ecosystem dynamics and socio-economic objectives. The central insight is that the appropriate comparison strategy to optimal coordinated management is optimal uncoordinated management, which can be identified at the game theoretic Nash equilibrium. Using this insight we can calculate coordination’s effects in relation to uncoordinated management and other reference scenarios. To illustrate how this framework can help identify ecosystem and socio-economic conditions under which coordination is most influential and valuable, we applied it to a heuristic case study and a simulation model for the California Current Marine Ecosystem. Results indicate that coordinated management can more than double an ecosystem’s societal value, especially when sectors can effectively manipulate resources that interact strongly. However, societal gains from coordination will need to be reconciled with observations that it also leads to strategic simplification of the ecological food web, and generates both positive and negative impacts on individual sectors and non-target species.

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