Biological Science Faculty Member
Dr. Brian D. Inouye
Ph.D. in Ecology and MS in Statistics, Duke University, 1998.
Graduate Faculty Status
Research and Professional Interests:I am a quantitative population and community ecologist, mostly working with plants and insects. I am interested in how variation among individuals (in traits, stages, and spatial locations) affects population dynamics and species interactions. Projects in the lab include work on spatial neighborhood effects on plants and insects, tritrophic interactions among plants-seed predators-parasitoids, mathematical models of communities, and phenological responses to climate change.
At each level of organization, from genes to species to communities, one of the most exciting aspects of biology is diversity. Why do some communities have many species, when others are dominated by just a few? The main goal of my research program is to join theoretical and empirical approaches to understanding how species coexist. In particular, I am interested in how spatial and temporal variation in species interactions influence population dynamics, patterns of community structure, and coexistence. One interesting cause of this variation in interactions is the variation inherent in structured populations, i.e. when individuals have different sizes, ages, sexes, or local neighborhoods that affect the strength of their interactions with competitors, predators, and mutualists. Making connections between data and theory requires use of mathematical models, knowledge of experimental design and statistical analysis, and an appreciation of natural history. I am excited about and involved in research in each of these areas. The empirical side of my research program generally involves insect communities, focusing on community modules of tightly interacting species. Insects are ecologically and economically important and fantastically diverse, and most insect species are amenable to experimental manipulations.