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I am an ecologist who studies the fantastic Earth and the critical role humans play in shaping our familiar home.

I focus on understanding how organisms establish within ecosystems and the interactions among species in these communities. Concepts I am currently investigating include:

  • how the establishment of non-native species is influenced by and changes recipient environments

  • how aquatic ecosystems change over time in response to multiple environmental stressors

 

I often explore these questions in lakes but also study terrestrial islands and contribute to fictional worlds with environmental themes.

Press: Smithsonian Magazine

Press: Smithsonian Magazine

Can Climate Fiction Writers Reach People in Ways That Scientists Can’t?

Latest Research

Latest Research

Plant Pirates of the Caribbean: Is Cuba sheltered by its revolutionary economy?

Latest Research

Latest Research

One fish, two fish, but bloody red shrimp can avoid fish, too.

Press: National Geographic

Press: National Geographic

Unintended environmental benefits of consequences of isolation

Latest Research

Latest Research

Indigenous' views about water quality

Plankton Key of Seneca Lake

Plankton Key of Seneca Lake

Rachel Best and Meghan Brown for Science on Seneca

Watercolors in the banner of this website were generated by Melissa Gaydos Merriam as part of an independent project in my research lab exploring zooplankton taxonomy through art.

All photos are mine or HWS images, except the hummingbird on this page, which is Jeremy Zerfoss's awesome rendering of the species I created for Jeff Vandermeer's novel Hummingbird Salamander, and the caricature, which was a gift from Julie Young when she was a student studying abroad with me in Australia and New Zealand. 

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