I believe one of the fundamental goals in ecology is to explain temporal and spatial patterns in organism abundance and distribution. This encompasses a broad range of questions with the ultimate goal of assessing how populations, communities and ecosystems function in order to better understand, conserve, and protect them. My research focuses on six primary areas related to this charge:
1. Assessing the causes and consequences of variability in coastal marine communities at multiple spatial and temporal scales.
2. Identifying the relative contribution of various biological and physical factors to the structuring of marine communities.
3. Determining how different life-history traits allow populations to take advantage of or buffer against environmental variability.
4. Understanding how widespread losses of ecosystem engineers (e.g. kelp forests) and/or the arrival of invasive species impacts biodiversity and ecosystem function.
5. Developing and/or expanding on experimental and statistical methods that facilitate the study of organisms in the field.
6. Assessing regional and local patterns of biodiversity and primary production in coastal marine habitats.
What unites these topics is the integration of organism biology, ecology and physiology with aspects of the physical and biological environment, and the use of numerous experimental and statistical approaches to discern the relative contribution of different environmental factors to the maintenance of coastal marine communities. I believe that a sound conceptual understanding of how organisms respond to their environment is fundamental to building a comprehensive research program in coastal marine ecology and to the progress of ecology in general.
I teach a variety of classes in Ecology, Marine Science, and Statistics. These include general courses in Marine Biology and Ecology, specialty courses in Subtidal (Kelp Forest) Ecology, Marine Botany, Plant Ecophysiology, Graduate courses in Univariate and Multivariate Biostatistics, and seminars in Disturbance Ecology and Scientific Controversies. My courses generally have a field component, as I believe getting students into nature is fundamental to a comprehensive training in Ecology.
medwards (at) mail.sdsu.edu