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Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Levin Lab Mailing Address: 106A Guyot Hall
Princeton, NJ 08544-1003
Phone: (609) 258-6879. Fax (609) 258-6819
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Levin Lab Members and Research Interests
L-R: Allison Shaw (Ph.D. 2012), Simon A. Levin, Eili Klein (Ph.D. 2012), and Carla Staver (Ph.D 2012). 2011.
Faculty & Staff
Simon A. Levin


Dynamics of populations and communities, spatial heterogeneity and problems of scale; evolutionary ecology; theoretical and mathematical ecology; biodiversity and ecosystem processes.

Sandi Milburn

milburnatprinceton.edu Assistant to Simon A. Levin.
Postdoctoral Research Associates
Matthieu Barbier mbarbieratprinceton.edu I am interested in bridging the divide between qualitative and formal approaches in fields where it is especially resilient - from ecology to linguistics and social sciences. I am thus attempting to construct models that explicitly incorporate traditionally qualitative notions such as functional organization or purpose, hoping they prove better at answering the sort of questions usually asked in those fields. To get some work done in the meantime, I apply methods from statistical physics and complex networks to social-ecological systems and common pool resource problems.

Thomas Van Boeckel tboeckelatprinceton.edu I am a spatial epidemiologist interested in both statistical and mechanistic approaches to study infectious diseases. I combine geo-referenced data and remote-sensed imagery to predict the distribution of species and disease. I am (or have been) mapping: avian influenza, malaria, AIDS, mosquitoes, antibiotic resistance, chickens, ducks and bark beetles.

Juan A. Bonachela jaboatprinceton.edu Study and characterization of the connections between the microscopic (individual) and macroscopic (population) levels of description of different complex biological systems. Application of statistical mechanics to analyze the possible emergence of universal (generic) features from the microscopic interactions in biological examples.

Neil Carter ncarteratsesync.org The dynamics and governance of complex socio-environmental systems, particularly as they relate to biodiversity conservation. Research topics include: cross-scale institutional linkages and their effects on biodiversity conservation, feedbacks between biodiversity and local human communities, human dimensions of biodiversity conservation, agent-based modeling of human-environment interactions, and socioeconomic and biodiversity impacts of different conservation policy scenarios.

Andrew Hein aheinatprinceton.edu Andrew is a theoretical biologist with a background in statistics and applied mathematics. He has used experiments along with computational and mathematical tools to scale up individual-level physiological and sensory mechanisms to their population and ecosystem-level consequences. He is also interested in bio-inspired technology and design. He earned his PhD from the University of Florida under Jamie Gillooly in Biology and Scott McKinley in Mathematics.

Frants H. Jensen fjensenatprinceton.edu My research centers around the social dynamics and sensory ecology of toothed whales. I use sound and movement recording tags on animals within the same social group to investigate social coordination, leader-follower dynamics and flow of information within cohesive groups of animals. I am further interested in how these processes are affected by increasing background noise or anthropogenic disturbances to evaluate how vulnerable different components of toothed whale social dynamics may be to changing acoustic environments.

Ben Morin brmorinatasu.edu Modeling techniques such as pair approximations, mean field equations (ODE and PDE), network models, and stochastic simulation applied to the fields of ecology, economics, epidemiology, statistical mechanics, and the social sciences. Specifically, Morin's research has focused on measuring the effect heterogeneity (physiological, behavioral, and spatial) has on the spread of diseases.

Efrat Shefer esheferatprinceton.edu My general research interest is linking processes that occur at large spatial scales with the structure and function of local ecosystems. I focus mostly on terrestrial systems and try to understand how plant organization is affected by landscape heterogeneity. One example is understanding ways by which seed dispersal patterns across the landscape change community composition. Another one is the flow of nutrients within different ecosystem compartments and among different ecosystems and how it controls population, community and ecosystem dynamics. I use various types of models and empirical work to gain insight of complex long-term or large-scale ecosystem dynamics to solve theoretical as well as applicable questions.

James Waters jswatersatprinceton.edu How the mechanics of physiological transport and communication networks influence organismal form and function. Research topics include the organization of collective behavior in social insect colonies, organismal biomechanics, diffusion models in respiration and behavior, physiological ecology, the allometric scaling of metabolic rate, comparative and environmental physiology, and the metabolic theory of ecology.
Graduate Students
Andrew Berdahl aberdahlatprinceton.edu Collective behaviour; dynamics on and of networks; population and community dynamics; complex systems; salmonids.

Eleanor Brush brushatprinceton.edu My broad research interests include the origins and functions of multi-scale organization, particularly in social systems; the evolution and dynamics of signaling and communication; information processing in biological systems; and the effect of individual-level behavior and optimization on group-level performance. I have studied the social system of pigtailed macaques. I am interested in extending the methods and ideas in that work to other social and biological systems, including dominance hierarchies in other species of animals, bird flocks, and human social networks. I am also interested in the mathematical methods required to address these questions, including tools from network theory, information theory, dynamical systems, and stochastic calculus.

Charlotte Chang chc2atprinceton.edu Synergistic effects of bird harvest and fragmentation in Southeast.

Emma Fuller efulleratprinceton.edu Humans exact change on the food-webs of which they are part, but altered food-webs subsequently affect human communities. I think (as many more qualified people have before me) that quantitatively linking both ecological and economic processes to make explicit the connection between human and non-human communities would be a valuable addition to the discourse surrounding natural resource use and conservation, and a basis for fascinating ecological questions. So, I'm hoping to address applied problems (e.g. problems due to predators, livestock, fishing, and agricultural practices) by understanding the theoretical ecological (and sometimes economic) principles which underlie and perpetuate these issues.

Simon Leblanc sleblancatprinceton.edu Collective behavior in animal groups like fish schools, bird flocks and insect swarms. Relation between individual interactions and macroscopic patterns. Analysis of experimental movies at a coarse-grain level using optical flow estimation methods (PIV). Parallel computing using GPU programming.

Lisa McManus lisacmatprinceton.edu Connectivity of coral reef ecosystems; larval recruitment and disease transmission dynamics in corals; coral reef biodiversity; marine reserve design.

Andrew Tilman andrewrtatprinceton.edu Using methods from ecology and economics to understand cooperation; the evolution of decision-making mechanisms; the role of complexity on the robustness of cooperation in the commons.

Alex Washburne awfouratprinceton.edu If I tell you exactly which bacteria I'm going to eat and their numerical abundances, can you tell me what my gut biota will look like after 1, 10, 100 weeks? How will expected patterns of colonization, coevolution and extinction vary over different temporal scales? What statistical tests can we use to discover which bacteria compete for space in the lumen and which for the space in the mucosa? Synthesizing all of this, can we use knowledge of evolutionary theory (coevolutionary dynamics, group selection of bacterial communities, etc.) to improve the relationship between animals and their gut biota? These are the types of questions I will be addressing in my thesis here at Princeton, but my interests, more broadly, are in evolutionary ecology/paleoecology, epidemiology, and popularizing science.
Visiting Researchers
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