In the Hurlbert Lab we ask questions about the structure of ecological communities, and the processes that are responsible for determining the patterns of diversity, composition, turnover and relative abundance both within local assemblages and across the globe. Our work spans vertebrate, invertebrate, and plant communities, and we use a variety of approaches from manipulative experiments to modeling to working with global scale datasets.
* Big congrats to Brian Evans for his excellent dissertation defense! Setting the bar high!
* Excited to kick off a new school year with incoming grad students Molly Gartland and Sara Snell, and new postdoc Robbie Burger!
* Brian Evans' paper on avian survival along an urban-to-rural gradient is out in this month's Ecology!
* Fieldwork monitoring avian resource phenology is underway, along with a trial of our new citizen science project Caterpillars Count! Hopefully the website will have greater functionality soon.
* Allen and former postdoc James Stegen have a new paper on using eco-evolutionary simulation models to make inferences about diversity patterns.
* Check out this great blog post by Chris Goforth from the NC Museum of Natural Sciences' Prairie Ridge Ecostation on how we've been developing a new citizen science project for monitoring bird food!
* Brian Evans gets his first dissertation chapter on avian survival along a rural-to-urban gradient accepted at Ecology!
* Former undergrad Spencer Scheidt has his senior thesis on population dynamics of the invasive Eurasian Collared-Dove published in PLoS ONE!
* Allen gives a talk at the Program on Mathematical and Statistical Ecology run by SAMSI.
* An amazing Gordon Research Conference on 'Unifying Ecology Across Scales'. Jes delivers a great talk and poster and is elected to organize the next Graduate Research Symposium in 2016. Allen talks about biodiversity and elephants (preprint here!), and solicits feedback via an interactive poster!
* Allen attends the Evolution meetings for the first time. His presentation is here!
* Allen gives a talk at the ECU Symposium on the Influence of Climate Change on Biodiversity
* Ben gets an NSF graduate research fellowship! Well done!
* Allen gives a seminar at the Duke University Program in Ecology.
* Allen and Dan Rabosky debate Susan Harrison and Luke Harmon regarding the importance of ecological limits in species richness patterns at the American Society of Naturalists meeting in Asilomar, CA.
* Allen and former postdoc James Stegen have an Ideas & Perspectives piece on energy limitation of species richness accepted at Ecology Letters!
* Allen speaks to the Chapel Hill Bird Club about patterns of avian biodiversity.
* Allen speaks to the New Hope Audubon Society about large-scale lessons from citizen science.
* Katie Becraft gives an excellent thesis defense on her research on the foraging behavior and niche shifts of three foliage gleaning birds in the southern Appalachians. And she landed a job with the Nature Conservancy to boot! We'll miss her!
* Rounding out a fine month for the Hurlbert Lab, Ben gets his first publication accepted as well!
* Allen talks about bird migration on WAMC's The Academic Minute.
* Spencer received Highest Honors for his thesis on the spread of the Eurasian Collared-Dove, as well as the department's Coker Award for demonstrating the highest ideals of scholarship and research.
* Katie received a Martina Wadewitz Haggard Memorial Scholarship for her field work out of Highlands Biological Station.
* Allen and Jes and two other UNC grad students return from another stimulating Dimensions of Biodiversity meeting, this time in beautiful Friday Harbor.
* Allen and Lily's research featured in Endeavors magazine!
* Allen and former undergrad Lily Liang have a paper on shifts in avian migration phenology out at PLoS ONE! The work was featured briefly on local NPR affiliate WUNC, and in more depth on the Canadian public radio show The Current. See also this piece in the Daily Tar Heel and this on the eBird website!
* Former post-doc James Stegen has a NCEAS working group paper on beta-diversity in North American birds accepted at GEB!
* Allen, James, and Craig McClain of NESCent fame have a paper on beta-diversity of deep sea bivalves accepted at Proc Roy Soc B! That's a new biome represented in work from the Hurlbert Lab! See Craig's blog post about it here.
* Allen and Jes return from a productive Dimensions of Biodiversity graduate seminar meeting in Washington state
* Even carving pumpkins, Allen is a nerd
* Congrats to Brian for passing his orals!
"Ecological patterns, about which we construct theories, are only interesting if they are repeated. They may be repeated in space or in time, and they may be repeated from species to species. A pattern which has all of these kinds of repetition is of special interest because of its generality, and yet these very general events are only seen by ecologists with rather blurred vision. The very sharp-sighted always find discrepancies and are able to say that there is no generality, only a spectrum of special cases. This diversity of outlook has proved useful in every science, but it is nowhere more marked than in ecology." --Robert MacArthur, 1968