Cross-scale ecology for a rapidly changing world

contact me: ljurgens [at] temple [dot] edu

Please feel free to get in touch. I enjoy working with people from around the world, including students, policy makers, teachers, conservation professionals, community leaders, and scientists from multiple disciplines.

My research focuses on uncovering key processes and interactions that maintain biodiversity and the function of coastal marine ecosystems in the face of increasing climate variability, extreme events, reductions in key species like predators and habitat-formers, and species invasions.

I mostly work in coastal ecosystems along the Pacific coast of Central and North America, including Panama, Mexico, California, and Alaska. I use a variety of tools, including classic field-based experimental ecology, laboratory physiological assays, long-term monitoring, and data synthesis to address specific research questions.

Research Interests

I ask questions aimed at unearthing feedbacks between processes operating across spatial and temporal scales and across levels of ecological organization— from individuals to communities, ecosystems, and biogeographic regions.

Much of my work deals with how various factors— especially physiology, life history, interactions among organisms, and between organisms and their environment—shape ecological responses to extreme climate events. As these disturbances increase in frequency with global environmental change, I’m interested in how these various factors combine to affect biodiversity and the ability of ecological systems to resist and recover from such events.

I do use-inspired basic research, which means that I ask questions with the goal of informing underlying conservation problems and strategies. Some of my key findings, for example, show that conserving habitat-forming species and predators can offer double benefits by buffering communities from climate variability. These experimental results suggest possible climate-resilience benefits of place-based strategies like marine reserves.

I’m also interested in building the science we need to support sustainable invertebrate fisheries, especially towards helping small-scale and subsistence fisheries weather the increasing uncertainty of global change.

I am fortunate to have a background in public policy and conservation work from a practitioner perspective. That developed my professional facilitation, cross-cultural communication, strategic planning, management, and conflict resolution skills. It also gave me valuable experience working with policy makers, agencies, and stakeholders. I believe that working from common ground and shared goals, respecting diverse perspectives and types of knowledge, and effective, efficient collaboration can help ensure an equitable, sustainable future for both people and nature. 

Find out more on the Research page.


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