Professor Robert Whittaker is visiting CMEC – University of Copenhagen

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11 April 2018

Professor Robert Whittaker is visiting CMEC

Professor Robert Whittaker will be visiting CMEC on 17 and 18 April 2018.

Robert is professor at School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford & Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, University of Copenhagen. His research focuses especially on island biogeography, diversity theory, and conservation biogeography.

Seminar by Professor Robert Whittaker:

Why isolation does and does not shape island species-area relationships

The island species–area relationship (ISAR) is recognized as one of the few ecological laws, but ISAR form is variable and macroecologists and island biogeographers have long sought to understand what drives this variation. One important prediction of island theory is that ISARs should become steeper with increasing distance from mainland source pools. This particular prediction has been disputed based on evidence that many remote archipelagos have comparatively flat ISARs, a point made and discussed several decades ago. We provide resolution to this debate in an analysis of ISAR form based on 151 ISAR data sets drawn from a wide variety of taxa and archipelagos of global distribution. We derive and test a causal model of ISAR parameter variation using piecewise structural equation models. Our findings demonstrate a key role for local-scale processes in structuring island diversity patterns, hence questioning simplistic applications of ISAR theory in conservation science.

Where: Universitetsparken 15, Building 1, Auditorium A
When: Tuesday April 17th, 11-noon