I’m currently the Tennenbaum Coordinating Scientist for the Smithsonian MarineGEO Network. I was formerly a post-doctoral researcher at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in East Boothbay, ME, and at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science in Gloucester Point, VA. I received my Ph.D. in Marine Science from the College of William & Mary in 2015.
My interests span from community and applied ecology, biodiversity science, ecological statistics, and conservation and restoration. I test and employ ecological theory to inform nature-based solutions to mitigate response to climate change and other anthropogenic impacts. I have worked in a variety of ecosystems, from marine to terrestrial, but have an enduring affinity for seagrasses and other underwater vegetation.
My research is broadly focused on understanding the causes and consequences of biological diversity, especially with respect to human well-being. To help with this goal, I develop new statistical methods and approaches, principally structural equation modeling (SEM). I write and maintain an R package to conduct SEM and teach international courses on the applications of this method. You can read more about SEM in all its forms in my online book.
My current work involves implementing long-term monitoring and coordinated experiments across the MarineGEO network. The network is interested in understanding how coastal ecosystems work, and how to keep them working. Through MarineGEO, I am also ushering in the next era of SeagrassNet and coordinating mapping, monitoring, and synthesis of seagrasses worldwide. I also am increasingly interested in the role of coastal systems, such as seagrasses and mangroves, as sinks of “blue carbon” and a means to offset carbon emissions.
My prior post-doctoral work involved understanding the patterns and drivers of submerged aquatic vegetation in the Chesapeake Bay over the past 30 years, and the factors that drive herbivory on Caribbean coral reefs. My Ph.D. research focused on the application of organismal ‘functional traits’ to both experiments and observational surveys to demonstrate how knowing what an organisms does–rather than what it is called–may help us better describe and predict the consequences of changing biodiversity.
I started the 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. (Even though I haven’t added a post in years!)
Also, follow me on Twitter!Follow @jslefche