My name is Matt Whalen and I am a postdoctoral fellow with the Hakai Institute, University of British Columbia, and MarineGEO. I am generally interested in how environmental conditions and interactions among species shape food webs and in how biodiversity at multiple scales determines the stability and functioning of ecosystems. I particularly like working with plants and animals in marine systems.
I investigate how feedbacks between environmental variability and biodiversity affect key ecosystem processes in coastal marine communities. Through experiments and data synthesis, I aim to find out how processes that influence the causes and consequences of biodiversity play out at different temporal and spatial resolutions.
My recent research has explored questions about biogeography and food web interactions in eelgrass (Zostera marina) communities. Eelgrass is a biomass-dominant seagrass of the temperate Northern Hemisphere, and like all seagrasses it is a vascular plant that lives and reproduces in marine waters. Seagrass systems are highly productive and support entire food webs by creating dynamic three dimensional structure that acts as habitat for many other organisms. Seagrasses are also cool because they arguably represent the most extreme evolutionary transition of plants from land back to the sea (others include mangroves and salt marsh grasses) as their life cycles are completed entirely ♫ under the sea ♫.
I am also interested in thinking about questions of deep history on our planet, which can tell us about how present patterns of interaction in ecosystems arose, and in figuring out where our ecosystems are headed in the future.
I enjoy being on the water, hiking, brewing beer, cooking with my partner, and the feeling I get when I see how math, science, and art yield insights into the natural world that exists in and around all of us.
Thanks for visiting and feel free to drop a line.
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