Assistant Professor and Coburn Professor of Environmental Science

Degrees: B.A. in Environmental Science, Boston Univ. Boston, MA
M.S. in Biological Sciences, Florida International Univ. Miami, FL
Ph.D. Biological Sciences, Florida International Univ. Miami, FL
Post-doctoral research, Washington Univ. St. Louis, St. Louis, MO

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
BL 159 Principles of Biology III
PH 206 Earth System Science
BL 417/L & 517/L Geographic Information Systems
BL 419 & 519 Conservation Biology

Selected Publications

Reider IJ, Donnelly MA & Watling JI (2018) The influence of matrix quality on species richness in remnant forest. Landscape Ecology 33:1147-1157.

Nowakowski AJ, Watling JI, Thompson ME, Brusch GA, Catenazzi A, Whitfield SM, Kurz DJ, Suarez-Mayorga A, Aponte-Gutierrez A, Donnelly MA & Todd BD (2018) Thermal biology mediates responses of amphibians and reptiles to habitat modification. Ecology Letters 21:345-355.

Pfeifer M et al. (2017) Creation of forest edges has a global impact on forest vertebrates. Nature 551:187-191.

Nowakowski AJ, Watling JI, Whitfield SM, Todd BD, Kurz DJ & Donnelly MA (2017) Tropical amphibians in shifting thermal landscapes under land use and climate change. Conservation Biology 31:96-105.