Dr. Mary O'Connor
Faculty of Science
My long-term research objective is to determine the adaptive capacity of biodiversity and ecosystem function in changing environments. We draw on unifying principles from diverse ecological disciplines to predict and explain how organisms, communities and ecosystems persist in changing environments. We document biodiversity in pristine and heavily impacted coastal marine seagrass meadows, we conduct experiments to find the limits of possible ecological responses to warming, and we develop theoretical and conceptual approaches to relate our observations to changes at larger and smaller scales. We use synthesis of data and theory, together with lab and field experiments to test critical assumptions and hypotheses to advance general knowledge about ecological change.