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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

Conservation Biology

The Bay checkerspot butterfly is both federally listed as threatened, and now extinct on most of the San Francisco peninsula including Jasper Ridge.  Working with colleagues in earth sciences, history and elsewhere in biology, we are (1) developing techniques to establish large artificial habitat patches prior to re-introducing the butterfly to the Stanford campus; (2) examining the genetic structure of the butterfly’s metapopulation both historically and at present; (3) exploring historical distributions of habitat; (4) studying the thermal biology of adults to better understand requirements for population persistence.
Euphydryas bayensis
Las Cruces countryside
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.
My research looks at the magnitude of anthropogenic impact on tropical forests, including analyses of deforestation, fragmentation and defaunation. Beyond that, I seek to understand how such anthropogenic impacts in turn affect species interactions. The research includes observational and experimental studies on the consequences of defaunation on patterns of seed predation, herbivory and understory plant diversity and tropical forest regeneration in tropical forests of Mexico. Other studies look at how fragmentation affects patterns of herbivory, pollination and genetic diversity in Mexico and Amazonia, and how logging in the Mayan forest affects the fauna, the plants and their interactions.
quadrat sampling
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.
Projects addressing global change and plot-scale biodiversity as well as global change and invasive species.
One of our research foci is the application of community and ecosystem ecology to biodiversity conservation and restoration. For example, we recently started studying the response of native plants and animals to removal of non-native predators from forest fragments in Hawaii
Invasion ecology of the Argentine ant – effects on native plant and arthropod communities; effect of Argentine ants on ant-lycaenid butterfly mutualisms
Jasper Ridge
Yellowstone National Park pond
Phylochronology of the northern fur seal; climatic change, deforestation and spread of disease in SE Asia; global warming and amphibian decline in Yellowstone National Park
Research in our group investigates the design and performance of marine protected areas in tropical and temperate reefs
Nassau grouper
Impacts of animal production systems on the environment
We have been extensively involved with the process of designating Marine Protected Areas in California as well as helping with design and monitoring in a variety of nations overseas.  In addition, we are working on conservation of whale species both by genetic determination of the species for sale in Japanese fish markets and use of genetic diversity to estimate the sizes of historical populations.
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.
Climate change impacts assessment (e.g., ecological impacts), climate policy analysis, economic and physical implications of mitigation and adaptation strategies, dangerous climate change, treatment of uncertainty in climate change projections, public understanding of science, modeling of paleoclimates and of human impacts on climate.
joint distribution histogram
US pop pyramid Tuljapurkar
Effects of climate change (changing environmental variability, long-memory dynamics) on extinction probabilities.
I seek to understand the biogeochemical cycles of nitrogen, phosphorus, and other elements, on scales from local ecosystems to global.  My lab's research uses the Hawaiian Islands as a model system in which we can identify and elucidate the mechanisms controlling biogeochemical cycles - including human modifications of those cycles, and their ecological consequences.  Recent work has focused on human-environment interactions in Hawaiian agriculture prior to European contact.
Kohala system
Stanford Seal Stanford Department of Biology