2013 - 2014 Global Change Fellow
Where are they now?
Tyson is a post-doc research assistant in the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology at Oregon State University with Dr. Fritzi Grevstad and Dr. Len Coop. He is developing models of biocontrol insect life-cycles that account for adaptations to novel climates, in order to improve invasive weed management on military bases across the USA.
Statement of purpose:
I am a Ph.D. student working with Nick Haddad at North Carolina State University. I research the effects of global change on conservation strategies. I am interested in using “natural experiments” of climate warming, provided by urban heat islands and interannual variability, to predict how different insect species will respond to global change. I use a mix of field experiments and population modeling to assess the effects of warming and land-use change on insect populations, phenology, ranges, and communities. It is important to me to share outcomes of my research with conservation managers and curious citizens outside of academia.
Description of research:
For human societies to adapt to global change, we must plan for how multiple drivers will alter the insect communities that impact our wellbeing. The goal of my graduate research is to predict how insects will respond to the most widespread forces of ecosystem change: climate change and urbanization. My research will contribute to the SECSC Science Theme 4, which focuses on the ecology of interacting human and natural systems. I address Task 2 (Do predicted responses to climate change match our observations?) and Task 3 (Field experiments to test organismal responses to climate change). I will test for differences in butterfly thermal tolerance using physiological experiments to see if higher tolerance for warm temperatures correlates with long-term population trends that have been monitored for 15 years by citizen scientists across Ohio. I predict that species with greater physiological tolerance for warm temperatures will be more likely to establish populations in urban areas and respond positively to summer heat waves. My research will help explain how insect populations will respond to ongoing global change and will inform policies that manage for ecosystem services provided by insects.