Ayres - Current Research Themes
|Causes of spatiotemporal patterns in the abundance of forest insects and pathogens
The patterning of population dynamics is a prominent emergent property of biological systems. Most of our research explores spatiotemporal variation in the abundance of forest insects, especially those that are sometimes recognized as pests. Study systems include bark beetles, Lepidoptera, wood wasps, scale insects, phoretic mites, and fungi. We generally work within the fields of physiological ecology, population ecology, and community ecology. Research tactics involve field experiments, spatial surveys, time series analyses, laboratory studies, and mathematical models. Some of our organizing questions are: (1) why are some populations stable in space and time while others fluctuate greatly; (2) what are the causes of spatial patterning in population fluctuations; (3) how do demographic processes operating at different spatial scales interact to influence landscape patterns in abundance; (4) what are the roles of community interactions and abiotic factors in determining patterns of forest pestilence; (5) what are the impacts of climate change on biotic disturbance regimes, and (6) how and why does forest pestilence change depending on whether the host trees and potential pests are indigenous to the system. We generally seek projects that are at the intersection of basic and applied research.
"There is nothing more practical than the development of good theory" Alexander Isaev, member Russian Academy of Sciences and former Minister of Forestry for USSR.
"Ordinary research is seeing what is there; extraordinary research includes noticing what is not there."
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