My research focuses on understanding, quantifying and predicting the ecological impacts of climate change, land use change, and other anthropogenic disturbances. It blends field data collection and the analysis of existing long-term datasets with mathematical modelling, in an effort to identify and quantify the biological mechanisms by which environmental change affects ecosystems. Common to all of my projects is a focus on conservation biology and an emphasis on applying quantitative models and empirical findings to aid proactive conservation planning.
Keywords: Ecological modelling; Climate change; Physiological ecology (e.g. dynamic energy budgets & metabolic theory of ecology); Population dynamics; Allee effects; Host-parasite systems; Food webs; Polar Ecology; Tropical ecology
Research Area: Conservation, Ecology & Evolution, Epidemiology, Mathematical Ecology, Global Change Ecology
I study a diversity of systems from around the globe, all under the general umbrella of understanding the impacts of environmental change and related conservation concerns. Current areas of focus include:
- The impacts of a melting sea ice habitat on polar bears, seals, and the arctic marine food webs.
- The impacts of climate change on the prevalence and distribution of parasitic diseases in caribou, muskoxen and other Arctic mammals.
- The impacts of forest fragmentation on mammalian habitat use and the likelihood of disease transmission between domestic animals and wildlife in Costa Rica, with a particular focus on large cats such as jaguars and pumas.
- Mate-finding Allee effects and other mechanisms that influence the dynamics of populations occurring at low densities and which may impact the success of conservation strategies.
- Developing modelling approaches that allow predicting the impacts of climate change and other disturbances on ecological systems
If you are interested in applying, please send me an email to discuss project and funding options. In your email, please include a brief (< 1 page) letter of intent that explains your reasons for applying to my lab, as well as a CV, a copy of your transcripts, and a writing sample.
Molnár PK, Derocher AE, Klanjscek T, Lewis MA (2011) Predicting climate change impacts on polar bear litter size. Nature Communications 2: 186 doi: 10.1038/ncomms1183.
Molnár PK, Kutz SJ, Hoar BM, Dobson AP (2013) Metabolic approaches to understanding climate change impacts on seasonal host-macroparasite dynamics. Ecology Letters 16: 9-21.
Molnár PK, Lewis MA, Derocher AE (2014) Estimating Allee dynamics before they can be observed: Polar bears as a case study. PLOS One 9(1): e85410.
- BIOC63H3 Conservation Biology