Hello! My name is Matt Whalen and I am a postdoctoral fellow with the Hakai Institute, University of British Columbia (Martone and O’Connor labs), and MarineGEO. I am generally interested in how environmental gradients and species interactions shape patterns of biodiversity, food web structure, and ecosystem functioning across multiple scales. Working with plants and animals in marine systems is what got me into this field, and it is what keeps me going.
My research investigates feedbacks between variation in the environment and biodiversity: where do we find the most biodiversity, and what effect does biodiversity have on key ecosystem processes in coastal marine communities? Through observation, experimentation, and data synthesis, I aim to find out discern processes underlying the causes and consequences of biodiversity, and how those feedbacks play out at different temporal and spatial resolutions.
My research spans habitats and scales: from documenting novel symbionts to exploring global gradients in climate and biodiversity. I actively work in rocky intertidal shores, subtidal rocky reefs, seagrass meadows, fouling communities on docks and piers.
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 I love the feeling I get when I see how math, science, and art yield insight, context, and meaning to our lives and how we approach our understanding of life.
Thanks for visiting and feel free to drop a line.