Island Biogeography

Oceanic islands are excellent natural laboratories for the study of biodiversity, and understanding how communities assemble on islands is a test-bed for how they accumulate on larger landmasses. 

Lifou island, New Caledonia, South Pacific (2011).

In collaboration with Dr. Ally Phillimore (University of Edinburgh) and Dr. Rampal Etienne (University of Groningen), we have developed a new modelling framework for island biogeography that combines MacArthur and Wilson’s equilibrium theory and Nee’s work on phylogenetic branching. This work was published in 2014 in a paper entitled "The effects of island ontogeny on species diversity and phylogeny".

Fernandina island, Galápagos archipelago (2013).

We have applied our dynamic lineage based model to the terrestrial avifauna of the Galápagos islands (including Darwin's finches). Using a likelihood framework that we have implemented in a new R package (DAISIE), we estimated rates of colonisation, extinction and speciation for the archipelago and tested for equilibrium dynamics. This study was published in Ecology Letters - "Equilibrium and non-equilibrium dynamics simultaneously operate in the Galápagos islands".

Galápagos warbler, Santiago island, Galápagos (2013)