Postdoctoral Research

I am currently working with an international, collaborative research project–Biogeographic Variation in Interaction Strength and Invasions at the Ocean’s Nearshore (BioVISION)– led by Amy Freestone (Temple University), Greg Ruiz (Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Edgewater, MD) and Mark Torchin (Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama City, Panama).

Through broadly replicated experiments, we are investigating how biotic interactions (predation and competition) shape communities and their resistance to invasion, across a latitudinal gradient. I am also working to understand how fish predators influence the response of tropical invertebrate communities to hurricane disturbance.

I can be found variously in Pacific Panama, northern California, southeast Alaska, Philadelphia and La Paz, Mexico.

Related publications:

Dissertation Research

Understanding organism-scale climate on rocky shores

Like many high-biodiversity ecosystems, including rain forests and coral reefs, rocky intertidal ecosystems are dominated by habitat-forming organisms that shelter numerous other species. Current methods of assessing species’ risk from climate change in this vulnerable ecosystem are limited by a lack of information about the extent to which habitat-forming species alter environmental conditions experienced by inhabitant organisms.

Much of my dissertation research examined how common, widespread habitat-formers (mussels and seaweeds) influence the magnitude and frequency of stressful temperature and desiccation events for inhabitant organisms, and how those effects compare with other important factors at larger spatial scales, like shore elevation, latitude and regional climate.

Related publications:

  • LJ Jurgens and B Gaylord. Biogenic habitats overwhelm latitudinal effects on high-temperature trends. In press, Ecology Letters. 
  • LJ Jurgens and B Gaylord. 2016. Edge effects reverse facilitation in a widespread foundation species. Scientific Reports. doi:10.1038/srep37573    Jurgens&Gaylord_2016.pdf

Population and community responses to an extreme mortality event: new insights into ecological roles and the dynamics of recovery

I also collaborated with scientists at UC Davis and UC Merced to investigate population impacts, community responses and recovery dynamics following an extremely severe regional mass mortality of benthic marine invertebrates on the north-central California coast in 2011, which occurred during a harmful algal bloom (HAB) in late August 2011.

Related publications:


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