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Liz & Whale

• Behavioral Ecology &
Cultural Evolution

Conservation Biology

Ecosystem & Global Ecology

Evolutionary Biology, Molecular Evolution, & Population Genetics

Physiological & Functional Ecology

Population Biology & Demography

Species Interactions & Community Ecology

Research Opportunities for Undergraduates

Species Interactions and Community Ecology

Non-native species intruding into a native co-evolved relationship may have disruptive effects.  As a case study, we are examining the effects of the Eurasian mustard Thlaspi arvense, on the ecology and evolution of Pieris macdunnoughii.  The butterfly lays eggs on the plant, but larvae won’t eat it.  What general lessons can we learn about the effects of invasions on species interactions?
My research group is focused on the future course of extinction; on resulting
changes in community composition and interactions, and in the delivery of ecosystem services; and on realizing novel opportunities for conservation in agricultural landscapes.
Current research in the Ehrlich lab is concentrated on a global evaluation of the population-environment-resource situation, with special focus on conservation biology and cultural evolution.
Our plot-scale work links community dynamics with biogeochemistry and ecophysiology.
One of our research foci is historical contingency in species interactions and the consequences for deterministic vs. stochastic community assembly. We use computer simulations, laboratory experiments and field experiments involving bacteria, fungi, protists, plants, arthropods, birds, mammals, and more.
field work
Chamela Dry Season
We study competition for food in desert ant communitities.

For the past 15 years we have monitored the spread of the invasive Argentine ant in Stanford's Jasper Ridge Biological Reserve. Genetic and behavioral studies show clear colony structure with seasonal patterns of expansion and contraction. We are examing the influence of human disturbance, rainfall. species interactions and the availability of nesting sites on the rate of spread of Argentine ants.

In collaboration with the Dirzo lab, we study mutualistic interactions of ants, plants and scales in tropical dry forests in Mexico and Costa Rica.
Azteca queen
Responses of vertebrates to Holocene climatic change in North and South America
Palmyra cage
Our research also focuses on the community ecology of rocky shores, rocky reefs and coral reefs. In these environments, we are investigating the effects of disturbance on diversity and community structure, and the role of predators in marine food webs.
We presently study the evolution of social behavior and mutualism, emphasizing the role of cooperation, and using cooperative game theory. We are working on the ``social selection project'' to develop alternatives to sexual selection theory and its corollaries. Previous work in the lab has also investigated the evolutionary community ecology of Caribbean Anolis lizards, the role of coupled oceanic and benthic processes in the population dynamics of intertidal invertebrates, and the theory of ecological economics.
US pop pyramid
Human-environment interactions in prehistory.  SOM models of plant growth and productivity. Historical change in human population, resources and culture in Hawaii.
Stanford Seal Stanford Department of Biology