Derek Tittensor

I have an inter-disciplinary background which includes biology, mathematics, statistics, oceanography, and computational science. The core themes and interests of my research are patterns of marine biodiversity and macroecology, the distributions of marine species, and the scale and consequences of human impacts.

My work has been covered by many new sources including the BBC (TV and radio), The New York Times (including an editorial), National Geographic, Wired Magazine, The Globe and Mail, The Economist, Scientific American and numerous others.

Three of my papers have been separately reported on by Science magazine (in Editors' choice or News & Analysis), and two recent papers received commentaries by prominent ecologists (Lord Robert May in PLoS Biology, and Jim Brown in PNAS).

Our paper on the number of species on Earth was listed as one of the top 100 science stories of 2011 by Discover magazine.,

Examples of my work
Statistical analyses - I modelled global habitat suitability for cold-water stony corals (Scleractinia) on seamounts. These corals provide complex habitat for other organisms, but are also susceptible to a wide range of human impacts. I constructed habitat suitability models to predict where they are likely to be found.

Field observation - We conducted surveys of reef fish diversity at Glover's Reef in Belize to examine the effects of fishing on the species-area relationship, one of the oldest known ecological laws

Theoretical modelling - Endemism is believed to be very high in many deep-sea communities, but this is difficult to separate from the effects of limited sampling. I am working on models to predict the estimated number of 'false' endemics due to low levels of sampling.

Experiments - We conducted caging experiments on coral reefs at Palmyra Atoll (central Pacific) to mimic the effects of fishing by excluding large fish from sections of the reef. We examined a spread of ecosystem effects from grazing to behaviour to recruitment.

Current projects
My current projects include working on a global ecosystem model, examining macroecological patterns of reef fish, and applying the metabolic theory of ecology to deep-sea environments.

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Email me Department of Biology Dalhousie University