June 2021 - Matthew's seminar at CForBio - "Chinese Forest Biodiversity Monitoring Network"
May 2021 - ECL collaborator on NASA grant for work on Congo's megafauna seed dispersal!
+ Welcome postdoc Dr Dipanjan Nala! [link]
Dec 2020 - New Paper in Biological Conservation
Welcome the ECL summer internships!
Fellowship winners: Henri Decoeur, Samuel Lee Tham, Ashlea Dunn, & Ilyas Nursamsi
Research students & volunteers: Harsh Pahuja, Victor Yiqian Li, Emma Valette, Carolina Zulueta, Thaung Ret, Alexander Hendry, Lindsey Arnold, Gary Young, Bora Aska, Jeffrey Lau, Xiaohan Liu, Lin Gan, Jessica Morrison, Abigail Rose Natusch, Tamzin Barber, "Niel" Nguyen Tran
Nov 2020 - ECL awarded $430K grant! (ARC DECRA to Matthew)
title: Ecological cascades in Queensland rainforests
Funding for 2 PhD students - please help us advertise!
October 2020 - Welcome Honours student Courtney Mueller
August 2020 - Welcome MSc student Francis Chicas!
July 2020 - Welcome Postdoc Dr Therese Lamperty!
May 2020 - The ECL awarded $500K grant
Partnership w/ NParks in Singapore & David Wardle at NTU
Study of wild boar recolonization on the island
April 2020 - Welcome PhD student Zach Amir!
March 2020 - Jakarta Post article on African Swine Fever
Feb 2020 - Welcome researcher Shane Wen Xuan Chiok!
How is rainforest biodiversity generated, maintained and eroded?
The ECL strives to understand the key mechanisms that structure food webs. Disturbances can alter important regulating mechanisms that keep ecosystems in a dynamic equilibrium. Many places, the loss of one species such an apex predator can cause food webs to disassemble and ecosystems to collapse. For example, in some places, the poaching of wolves or tigers eliminates predation control of herbivore populations and triggers cascading impacts on the vegetation. In other locations, the loss of predators produces negligible cascading impacts.
The ECL wants to understand why.
Basic research on how food webs are governed has applied uses in conservation. For protected areas and parks to maintain high diversity over the long term, we must identify and protect the key mechanism structuring those ecosystems. Thus, while the ECL focuses on conducting fundamental research, our findings will play a crucial role in maintaining healthy plant and animal communities in the coming decades.
Apex predators are crucial to regulating the populations of large herbivores in some ecosystems. This tiger was photographed as part of our work in Sumatra, which experienced the highest deforestation rates globally from 2000-2015. Area-demanding apex predators are now at severe risk of extinction. Our estimates of this critically endangered species population (618 tigers) and home range (200-400 km2) now guide Indonesia’s conservation program (Luskin et al. 2017a).
Our follow up work examines tigers' importance for maintaining healthy food webs. We do this by comparing the food web structure in a dozen forests in Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia, some which have lost tigers.
Where we work
The Ecological Cascades Lab conducts wildlife sampling in Southeast Asia