Dr. Thomas E. Miller
Laboratory Home Page
Ph.D., Michigan State University, 1985
Graduate Faculty Status
As a community ecologist, I am interested in what controls the diversity and abundance of species in different ecosystems. But, I am open to exploring different questions within this broad area. I teach General Ecology (PCB 3043), as well as several graduate courses, and I am always interested in students who might want to complete Directed Independent Study projects.
My current research program is divided into two very different areas. (1) Coastal Dune Vegetation: I am interested in the forces that structure plant communities on barrier island, especially in the northern Gulf of Mexico. We have been using a long-term study of the vegetation on St. George Island to understand the relative importance of hurricanes, drought, geomorphology, and succession on determining patterns of individual species abundance and community diversity through time, with a particular interest in looking at restoration and climate change. (2) Evolution of Protozoa in Pitcher Plants: We have been using models and experiments to ask questions about how suites of competitors evolve though time. Because of their unique microhabitats and short generation times, protozoa found in the water-filled leaves of pitcher plants are an ideal system to conduct selection experiments, looking at how competing species evolve and, ultimately, how diversity itself affects the evolution in multi-species assemblages. My students are not tied to my systems and questions and have explored a variety of areas, including plant invasion biology, metacommunities, and range-shifts in response to climate change.Selected Publications:
Miller, T. E. 2015. Effects of disturbance on vegetation by sand accretion and erosion across coastal dune habitats on a barrier island. AoB Plants 7: plv003. doi: 10.1093/aobpla/plv003
Paisie T. K. , T. E. Miller, O. U. Mason. 2014. Effects of a ciliate protozoa predator on microbial communities in pitcher plant (Sarracenia purpurea) leaves. PLoS ONE 9(11):e113384. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0113384
Baiser, B., N. J. Gotelli, H. L. Buckley, T. E. Miller, and A. M. Ellison. 2012. Geographic variation in network structure of a nearctic aquatic food web. Global Ecology and Biogeography: 21:579-591.
Kadowaki, K., B. D. Inouye, and T. E. Miller. 2012. Assembly-history dynamics of a pitcher-plant protozoan community in experimental microcosms. PLoS ONE 7: e42651. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0042651. PDF
Miller, T. E. and C. P. terHorst. 2012. Testing successional hypotheses of stability, heterogeneity, and diversity in pitcher-plant inquiline communities. Oecologia 170:243-251. PDF
Miller, T. E. and C. P. terHorst. 2012. Indirect Effects in Communities and Ecosystems. In Oxford Bibliographies Online: Ecology. Ed. David Gibson. New York: Oxford University Press.