Advancing ecology at the interface of theory and data
Although most of us are fundamentally empiricists, our approaches often have population models at their core, allowing rigorous links between theoretical concepts and the dynamics of field systems. As ecologists, we focus on the contemporary dynamics of populations and communities, though we are also increasingly interested in how rapid evolutionary change alters these dynamics.
Jonathan Levine received his PhD in 2001 from UC Berkeley, where he studied the controls over plant invasions. He was subsequently a postdoctoral researcher at the NERC Center for Population Biology at Imperial College, Silwood Park, where he studied mathematical models of species coexistence. He was an Assistant Professor at UCLA, before moving in 2003 to UC Santa Barbara, where he served as Assistant, Associate, and Full Professor. In 2011, Jonathan was appointed Professor of Plant Ecology at ETH Zurich, where he served until moving to Princeton University in 2019. Jonathan’s research emphasizes the controls over species coexistence, plant migration and invasion, and how communities respond to climate change.
Areas of Interest: How inter- and intra-species interactions facilitate co-existence and community function, and how those interactions scale and are affected by perturbations such as climate change.
- Stephanie Yelenik, Ph.D. 2008, Scientist at USGS
- Erin Mordecai, Ph.D. 2012, Faculty at Stanford University
- Nicky Lustenhouwer, Ph.D. 2017, Postdoc at UC Santa Cruz
- Peter Adler 2003-2006; Faculty at Utah State University
- Janneke Hille Ris Lambers 2004-2006; Faculty at the University of Washington
- Margaret Mayfield 2005-2007; Faculty at the University of Queensland
- Louie Yang 2006-2008; Faculty at University of California, Davis
- Elizaveta Pachepsky 2006-2010; Private Sector
- Benjamin Gilbert 2008-2010; Faculty at the University of Toronto
- Jennifer Williams 2011-2012; Faculty at the University of British Columbia
- Nathan Kraft 2012; Faculty at the University of California, Los Angeles
- Oscar Godoy 2010-2013; Faculty at the University of Cadiz
- Jeff Diez 2011-2013; Faculty at University of California, Riverside
- Emily Moran 2012-2014; Faculty at University of California, Merced
- Monique De Jager 2013-2014; Postdoc at the University of Utrecht
- Serguei Saavedra 2015; Faculty at MIT
- Jake Alexander 2011-2016; Faculty at ETH Zurich (ERC Starting Grant)
- Martin Turcotte 2014-2016; Faculty at the University of Pittsburgh
- Jacob Usinowicz 2014-2019 Postdoc at the University of British Columbia
- Simon Hart 2012-2018; Faculty at the University of Queensland
- Andrew Letten 2018-2019; Faculty at the University of Queensland
- Sabine Güsewell 2012-2018; Statistician, Cantonal Hospital of St. Gallen
Advanced discussions of ecology, evolution, and behavior focus on 50 fundamental papers. Ecological topics include dynamics and structure of populations, communities, ecosystems, and conservation biology. Behavioral topics include instinct and learning, social behavior, physiological ecology, and the evolution of behavior. Evolutionary topics include speciation, evolutionary and quantitative genetics, molecular evolution, evolutionary stable strategies, and evolution of development.
An examination of how life evolved and how organisms interact to shape the natural world. Why did the dinosaurs disappear? What mechanisms can produce the chameleon’s camouflage or the giraffe’s long neck? Why do ecosystems contain such a wide diversity of species when competition between them should eliminate all but a few? How will life on earth change with increasing human domination of the planet? These and other questions related to the origin and future of life, conflict and cooperation between species, and dynamics of ecosystems will be explored. This course is required for all EEB majors and fulfills a requirement for medical school.
Join the Lab
The accomplishments of our postdocs and graduate students are a key measure of achievement for our group, and our former members have gone on to top ecology faculty positions world-wide. Applicants should aim to work at the interface of experiments and theory to tackle questions related to the maintenance of species diversity, the controls over plant invasions, or plant community response to climate change. Plant ecology experience is desired but not essential.
Regardless of whether we are currently advertising a position, postdoctoral candidates with a relevant research background, and accomplishments comparable to current members (after adjusting for academic age) should email Jonathan, including a CV. Potential doctoral students with strong academic records (ideally, with at least one paper in or through the review process) should similarly send an email indicating their interest.