Assistant Professor and Coburn Professor of Environmental Science

Expertise: Conservation Biology, Geographic Information Systems, and Landscape Ecology

Research Interests

I am interested in what determines how species are distributed at spatial scales ranging from a few square kilometers to entire continents.  Human-mediated disturbances such as habitat loss and fragmentation, climate change and invasive species create myriad environmental changes that directly and indirectly affect species distributions. At the same time, species vary in traits that help determine how their distributions are shaped by the environment.  My students and I use field observations, GIS-based spatial modeling, and experiments in the field and lab to understand how interactions between environmental change and species traits influence large-scale distribution patterns. Much of my fieldwork takes place in the Neotropics, but I also work in temperate forests of the midwestern and southeastern United States.

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Recent Courses

PH115/L Environmental Earth Science
PH 206 Earth System Science
BL 417/L & 517/L Geographic Information Systems

Selected Publications

Benscoter AM, Reece JS, Noss RF, Brandt LA, Mazzotti FJ, Romañach SS & Watling JI (2013) Threatened and endangered subspecies with vulnerable ecological traits also have high susceptibility to sea level rise and habitat fragmentation.  PLOS ONE 8:e70647.

Watling JI, Hickman CR, Lee E, Wang K & Orrock JL (2011) Extracts of the invasive shrub Lonicera maackii increase mortality and alter behavior of amphibian larvae.  Oecologia 165:153—159.

Watling JI, Nowakowski AJ, Donnelly MA & Orrock JL (2011) Meta-analysis reveals the importance of matrix composition for animals in fragmented habitat.  Global Ecology & Biogeography 20:209—217.  

Watling JI & Donnelly MA (2007) Multivariate correlates of extinction proneness in a naturally fragmented landscape.  Diversity and Distributions 13:372—378.

Watling JI & Donnelly MA (2006) Fragments as islands: a synthesis of faunal responses to habitat patchiness. Conservation Biology 20:1016—1025