2015 – 2016 Global Change Fellow
Where are they now?
Meagan is a Postdoctoral Scholar at University of California San Diego and Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
Statement of Purpose:
I am a PhD student working with Dr. Rob Dunn in the Biological Sciences department at NC State University. My research focuses on the ecology and evolutionary history of humans and other mammals, as told through their microbe and arthropod associate communities.
Description of Research:
As the climate changes, so do our interactions with the species that live in and around our cities and our homes. Evidence of new patterns have already emerged where animals that were once urban avoiders are moving into more densely populated areas, due to changes in resource availability (e.g. coyotes). As these animals become urban adapter and urban exploiter species, we will become more intimately tied not only to them but also to the broad range of previously unexplored microbe and arthropod associates they carry with them. Microbes and arthropods are ubiquitously found in our surrounding environment, in our homes, and on our bodies. At any given moment, we may have thousands of interactions with our associate species, yet these relationships are poorly defined. Through gaining a more complete picture of how humans and other mammals interact with the microbes and arthropods to which they are host, we can gain a better understanding of how these relationships change through time and space and what this can tell us about the potential for novel interactions as our climate shifts, as well as what implications these shifts may have for our health. My research falls within the SECSC’s Science Theme 4: Ecological Research and Modeling, Task 4: Identify New or Altered Species Interactions that are Likely to Have a Disproportionate Impact on Community Structure and Ecosystem Function.