Postdoctoral Research Fellow
As a Fuller Postdoctoral Fellow supported by Princeton and World Wildlife Fund, I am developing science-based conservation strategies in the Andes-Amazon region using the ecologically important dung beetles as a model system.
I am addressing three conservation problems:
- How broadly are Amazonian species distributed across widespread terra firme forest? This information is critical for planning appropriate protected areas, but few data exist, especially for invertebrates.
- What are current and future impacts of changing land-use and illegal hunting associated with the developing interoceanic highway in Peru? How can we mitigate these impacts on biodiversity and maximize landscape connectivity?
- How is the synergistic influence of land-use and climate change likely to affect species along Andean elevational gradients? Montane species are among the most vulnerable to climate change, but little information exists for tropical ectotherms.
I completed my Ph.D., "Linking patterns, causes and functional consequences of changing biodiversity", at Princeton University in 2006. Since then, I worked as science director with the non-profit Friends of the Osa to conserve terrestrial and marine biodiversity of the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica. I have been a research associate with the Smithsonian Institution and the Amazon Conservation Association since 1998, conducting fieldwork in many tropical countries. Much of my research has focused on insects, although I am broadly interested in the diversity and conservation of tropical systems. I also enjoy wildlife photography (www.princeton.edu/~tlarsen/photography).
Larsen, T.H. Testing local extinction mechanisms and explaining the high sensitivity of habitat specialists to disturbance: dung beetles rapidly lose and can't find forest fragments. In review
Larsen, T. H., A. Lopera, & A. Forsyth. 2008. Understanding trait-dependent community disassembly: dung beetles, density functions and forest fragmentation. Conservation Biology, in press (available online early)
Nichols, E., S. Spector, J. Louzada, T. H. Larsen, S. Amezquita, M. E. Favila. 2008. Review: Ecological functions and ecosystem services provided by Scarabaeinae dung beetles. Biological Conservation, 141(6):1461-1474
Nichols, E., T.H. Larsen, S. Spector, A. Davis, K. Vulinec, F. Escobar, & the Scarabaeinae Research Network. 2007. Global dung beetle response to tropical forest modification and fragmentation: A quantitative literature review and meta-analysis. Biological Conservation, 137(1): 1-19
Larsen, T.H., A. Lopera, & A. Forsyth. 2006. Extreme trophic and habitat specialization by Peruvian dung beetles. Coleopterist's Bulletin, 60(4): 315-324
Larsen, T.H., N. Williams, & C. Kremen. 2005. Extinction order and altered community structure rapidly disrupt ecosystem functioning. Ecology Letters, 8: 538-547 [Top ten cited articles over past three years in Ecology Letters]
Larsen, T.H. & A. Forsyth. 2005. Trap spacing and transect design for dung beetle biodiversity studies. Biotropica, 37(2): 322-325 [Top five cited articles in Biotropica for 2007]