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Using Process-explicit Models to Explore Species Range Dynamics

Speaker: Dr. July Pilowsky, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies

In ecology, process-explicit models represent the dynamics of ecological systems as explicit functions of the mechanisms and drivers that produced them. Process-explicit models are therefore able to link observed ecological patterns, such as species spatial abundance patterns, directly to their causes, such as climate and environmental change.

Dr. Pilowsky discusses their doctoral research, conducted at the University of Copenhagen and the University of Adelaide, in which they showed how process-explicit models can be used to establish determinants of range collapses and extinction by unpacking complex interactions between ecological lifestyles, biological traits, climate change, and human-driven threats. By providing a more complete understanding of the ecological mechanisms that regulate species’ responses to climate and environmental change, Dr. Pilowsky's research provides information needed to better predict vulnerability to future climate and environmental change.