YCEI Postdoctoral Fellow, Phoebe Zarnetske, will begin a position at Michigan State University as an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Forestry and Fisheries & Wildlife

Wednesday, August 7, 2013 - 4:00pm

During her postdoctoral fellowship with YCEI, Phoebe worked on several projects intersecting community ecology, modeling, and climate change with her advisor, David Skelly (Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies), and colleagues Mark Urban (Yale alum, University of Connecticut), Walter Jetz (Yale’s Ecology and Evolutionary Biology), and Adam Wilson (YCEI Postdoctoral Fellow). Phoebe focused on improving predictions of how species will respond to climate change by incorporating biotic interactions (e.g., competition, predation, mutualism).

Phoebe worked on three modeling projects that incorporate these biotic interactions: 1) a simulation model that predicts how tri-trophic ecological communities (e.g., those with plants, herbivores, and predators) will change as temperatures rise over the next 100 years; 2) a time-series model that describes how freshwater fish communities in Arctic lakes have responded to climatic change over the last 27 years, and 3) spatial models that describe and predict how birds in North America change their distribution as climate changes. With this research she also mentored two students on ecological modeling and climate change.

As part of her research, Phoebe organized a symposium at the 2012 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) meeting on the Future of Ecological Communities under Climate Change. Insights from this symposium led her and her colleagues to write a perspective article in Science: “Biotic Multipliers of Climate Change.” Phoebe also attended several workshops related to community ecology, climate change, and spatial scaling. As a result, she formed new collaborations and co-authored a paper with Urban and Skelly in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences about the importance of including dispersal ability and interacting species when modeling future distributions of species.

Phoebe is an author on a recent review paper that uncovers clues from the geologic record and recent past about how climate change and biotic interactions can restructure ecosystems. The paper (“Climate Change and the Past, Present, and Future of Biotic Interactions”) appeared in a special issue of Science on Natural Systems in Changing Climates. See press releases from NSF, Yale, and the Science podcast.

While at Yale, Phoebe also published three research articles on work from her dissertation on coastal dunes. These papers focused on how invasive grasses and sand supply can interact to produce different dune shapes, and in turn, how the invasive grasses could reduce or increase the risk of waves overtopping dunes during future storms and climate change-induced sea level rise.

Publications completed while at Yale:

Blois, J. L., P. L. Zarnetske, M. C. Fitzpatrick, and S. Finnegan. 2013. Climate Change and the Past, Present, and Future of Biotic Interactions. Science 341:499–504. doi: 10.1126/science.1237184.

Urban, M. C., P. L. Zarnetske, and D. K. Skelly. 2013. Moving forward: dispersal and species interactions determine biotic responses to climate change. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences: online early. doi: 10.1111/nyas.12184.

Zarnetske, P. L., T. C. Gouhier, S. D. Hacker, E. W. Seabloom, and V. A. Bokil. 2013. Indirect effects and facilitation among native and non-native species promote invasion success along an environmental stress gradient. Journal of Ecology: online early. doi: 10.1111/1365-2745.12093.

Seabloom, E. W., P. Ruggiero, S. D. Hacker, J. Mull, and P. Zarnetske. 2013. Invasive grasses, climate change, and exposure to storm-wave overtopping in coastal dune ecosystems. Global Change Biology 19:824–832. doi: 10.1111/gcb.12078.

Zarnetske, P. L., D. K. Skelly, and M. C. Urban. 2012. Biotic Multipliers of Climate Change. Science 336:1516–1518. doi: 10.1126/science.1222732.

Zarnetske, P. L., S. D. Hacker, E. W. Seabloom, P. Ruggiero, J. R. Killian, T. B. Maddux, and D. Cox. 2012. Biophysical feedback mediates effects of invasive grasses on coastal dune shape. Ecology. doi: 10.1890/11-1112.1.