William Farfan-Rios is an avid forest ecologist with long-standing field experience. His research is focused on the study of tropical tree communities’ composition, dynamics, distribution and their responses to global change. He has been coordinating and leading field campaigns and research projects in the Andean-Amazonian elevational transect established by the Andes Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research Group. Working closely with Drs. Jonathan Myers (Washington University) and Sebastian Tello (Missouri Botanical Garden), William will integrate data of long-term forests inventories across the Andes-to-Amazon elevational gradients in six countries. He will use the elevational transects as a natural laboratory to explore the effects of anthropogenic climate change on tropical biodiversity and ecosystem processes.
Sacha Heath is a conservation ecologist who conducts research to inform and evaluate biodiversity conservation. Her studies have taken her from Alaska to Antarctica and from pristine wilderness areas to human dominated working lands. While Sacha has a soft spot for feathered creatures—and birds have been the focus of most of her research—she is also fascinated by complex ecological interactions involving multiple taxa. As a Living Earth Collaborative Biodiversity Postdoctoral Fellow, Sacha will be focusing on the ecology of urban bird communities. In collaboration with Gerardo Camilo (St. Louis University), Solny Adalsteinsson (Tyson Research Center), Anne Tieber (St. Louis Zoo), and St. Louis Audubon, Sacha will study the effectiveness of a citizen-based backyard conservation program along a rural-to-urban gradient of the St. Louis metropolitan area.
Michael Moore is a biologist with expertise in the evolution of animal life cycles and mating interactions. His research is revealing the ways in which animals adapt to living in different habitats across their life cycles. Michael has studied a diverse suite of animals in regions across the United States including amphibians, fish, dragonflies, and ladybugs. Collaborating with Drs. Kasey Fowler-Finn (Saint Louis University) and Kim Medley (Tyson Research Center), Michael will explore how animal breeding colors adapt to warmer climates. This research will help biologists understand factors responsible for the global diversity of animal color patterns and should provide insight into how these captivating traits will respond to the climates of the future.
Brett Seymoure – Grossman Family Postdoctoral Fellow
Brett Seymoure studies how natural and anthropogenic lighting affects myriad organisms. Brett has studied how tropical butterflies have evolved in different rainforest light environments and how gas developments in the Rocky Mountains affect mammals. As the Grossman Family Post-Doctoral Fellow, he will work with Kasey Fowler-Finn (Saint Louis University), Anthony Dell (National Great Rivers Research and Education Center), and Amanda Koltz (Washington University) to study how light drives food webs and predator-prey interactions in spiders and insects. Our understanding of how increased light conditions at night affect community interactions is limited and is especially lacking in the case of predator-prey interactions in arthropods (e.g. spiders and insects). Arthropods contribute the most to ecosystem services of any animal group and arthropods have had global declines in abundance over the last few decades. To understand how global change will alter ecosystem services and biodiversity, an understanding of how light at night will alter arthropod communities is needed. Brett will investigate the effects of anthropogenic lighting at night on predation in arthropods by addressing three major research aims: (1) quantify effects of light conditions on arthropod behavior and predator-prey interactions; (2) measure visual abilities for respective species; and 3) integrate behavioral and physiological data to understand how light structures arthropod communities to make predictions of effects of light pollution on global arthropod biodiversity.