Lab of Tim Wootton at the University of Chicago, Department of Ecology and Evolution, including research on Tatoosh Island, Washington.
J. Timothy Wootton
That's a pen cap, not a cigarette!
research focuses on the ecological and evolutionary consequences of
interactions among organisms. My work centers on how multi-species
systems function and on evaluating methods that might predict how such
systems will respond to environmental change, particularly in regard to
the current epidemic of species extinctions and introductions occurring
throughout the world. I have conducted research on a wide variety of
related subjects and retain active research interests in most of them,
including the role of ecological factors on the evolution of life
history and mating systems, and population viability models of
endangered species. I work in several different systems, and
study a range of taxa. My general approach develops and tests questions
or models of broad theoretical interest, using field experiments,
observations of large-scale species introductions, and between-system
comparisons. Currently, my research focuses on rocky intertidal marine
communities (particularly on Tatoosh Island, Washington) and rivers, which serve as model experimental systems for
ecology. Specific research includes:
Indirect Effects of Environmental Impacts.
Studying indirect effects of environmental impacts, such as species
extinctions and introductions, changes in productivity, and changes in
disturbance regime, on complex ecosystems.
Identifying observational and experimental approaches that predict the
strength of species interactions in natural communities.
Parameterizing dynamic models of food webs.
Transition-based Models of Multi-species Communities.
Parameterizing and experimentally testing models such as extensions of
the Neutral Theory of Biodiversity, Markov chain models and
spatially-explicit cellular automata models.
Global Change Impacts on Ecological Networks. Documenting the dynamics of ocean pH (ocean acidification) in response to increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations and other physical and biological drivers, and predicting its effects on webs of interacting species in coastal ecosystems. See movie clip of this research.
Exploring experimentally the importance of genetic and
demographic factors on extinction risk in small populations.
River Food Web Ecology. Studying whole-ecosystem response to large-scale impacts or management programs derived by focusing on single species, particularly in streams in Costa Rica and salmon-bearing rivers of western North America.
Ecology and Evolution of Invasive Species.
Species impacts in native and introduced habitats, character
displacement, and life history change following invasion by House
Finches and other species.
Data and software products from the research can be found here.
I expect my students to develop a broad perspective on ecology and evolution, to engage in research rooted solidly in empiricism but with an eye toward its wider theoretical and practical implications, and to maintain a healthy knowledge of natural history. I particularly encourage applications from students with interests in marine or aquatic ecology.
Aaron Kandur: Determinants of range limits at multiple scales. Use of neural networks to characterize community interactions.
Sara Jackrel: Effects of individual trait variation across ecosystem boundaries.
Amy Henry: Disease, disturbance and alternative states.
Sebastian Heilpern: Process catalyzers in ecosystems.
Elizabeth Sander: Food web dynamics modeling.
Jon Chase: Size structured interactions and alternative stable states in pond food webs along a productivity gradient.
Food-web consequences of species invasions, particularly the
synergistic interactions of multiple invaders on a remote Chilean
Michael Fitzsimons: Feedback and species coexistence of mycorrhizae and plants in prairies.
Handojo Kusumo: Genetic structure and dynamics of experimental kelp populations. Microsatellite and AFLP methods.
Dylan Maddox: Ecological/evolutionary consequences of avian invasion. Dynamic macroecology.
Matthew Helmus (NSF Bioinformatics post-doc): Phylogenetic signals in interaction strength and food web structure.
My laboratory is strongly integrated with that of my colleague, Dr. Cathy Pfister and I am actively involved as a committee member or co-advisor with most of her students.
|I am a representative of the University of Chicago to the Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS), and have taken courses, done research and led alumni groups at their field stations.|
|Research reported on this website and website development has been
supported in part by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National
Science Foundation (DEB 9317980, DEB 9701120, DEB 9972739, OCE 0117801,
OCE 0452687, OISE 0456110, DEB 0608178, DEB 0919420), the U. S. EPA (via
the Center for Integrating Statistics and the Environmental Sciences),
the SeaDoc Society, and the Olympic Natural Resources Center.