About Me

Jon Lefcheck

I’m a Ph.D. candidate studying marine science at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, The College of William & Mary in Gloucester Point, VA.

My research interests span from general community ecology with a focus on marine systems, to biodiversity science, to statistics and programming.

My dissertation focuses on the emerging concepts of functional trait and phylogenetic diversity, and how they relate to patterns and processes in nature. In particular, my research focuses on methods for quantifying diversity, looking at large-scale patterns in functional and phylogenetic diversity of marine and estuarine fishes through space and time, and using experimental manipulations to link functional diversity to ecosystem functioning in assemblages of estuarine consumers.

I’m also interested in synthetic approaches to understanding the contributions of diversity to natural systems. I’m a participant in several working groups whose goals are to synthesize two decades of empirical research on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, to integrate new functional and phylogenetic methods into quantifying biodiversity, and to investigate global patterns in marine community diversity.


Photo credit: Matt Whalen

A lot of my research revolves around the natural history of seagrass ecosystems, specifically in the associated epifaunal community, and understanding the interactions between seagrass, epifauna, predators, and the environment. I’ve been a participant in the Zostera Experimental Network, whose primary goal is to tease apart these interactions using simultaneous experiments at dozens of sites worldwide.

I’ve done some additional work with with Virginia Sea Grant on reintroducing bay scallops to restored seagrass beds in Virginia’s coastal bays.

You can read more about my various projects here.

I started this blog, sample(ECOLOGY), to share some of the thoughts, explorations, and R code that I stash away on a daily basis. Hopefully someone out there will find some use for it as well.

biodvYou can also catch me at my other blog, BioDiverse Perspectives, which I co-run with graduate students from the US and Brazil. It’s meant to foster discussion among graduate students studying biodiversity science all over the world. Check it out, and leave a comment or two.

You can also follow me on Twitter!

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