I’m fascinated by the complexity and emergent ‘beauty’ of nature. In my work, I’ve tried to merge concepts of ‘niche’, ‘food web’, ‘trophic ecosystems’, ‘eco-evolutionary feedbacks’, and ‘metacommunities’ to understand this beautiful complexity. To do that, I’ve explored ways to combine theory, quantitative statistics, and experiments, especially with freshwater plankton. More recently I’ve been working also with microbiomes (wow, they are really different!) and currently, I’m working to find ways to use such insights to maintaining and conserving this ‘complex beauty’ by addressing environmental challenges. For me, it’s been a long road, but I feel like ecology as a field is poised to bridge some of the most challenging barriers that have hindered progress in the past… very exciting!

I guess I’m the ‘old man’ here, but hopefully only in chronological age. I started working with colleagues at INTP just before the breakout of the pandemic and have come to find it a tremendously exciting group of young scientists who are making important findings in ecology that match my interests. I started visiting INTP right after the pandemic, and love the dynamics that exist among the members (it doesn’t hurt that the location of INTP is so beautiful and makes this dynamic so ‘natural’). This context makes it easy to think it is possible to combine exciting scientific discovery with socially exciting and enjoyable interactions. I look forward to being part of the group for years to come!