Research in the Melles Lab

I am spatial ecologist interested in the question of what determines where organisms are located, both on land and in the water. My research is focused on understanding the principle ecological drivers of species distribution and diversity patterns across a range of spatial-temporal scales.  My work combines field-based observation with theoretical modelling and statistical simulation to unravel current and past ecological drivers of diversity. I am most interested in studies of how humans observe, modify, and control patterns of species distribution and diversity in different ecosystem types (e.g., urban lands and waters, rivers, lakes, forested, and agricultural systems). Much of my current work is focused on unravelling how climate change, urbanization, and invasive species lead to altered communities and extinctions across scales, which can have dramatic consequences for ecosystem diversity. I am also interested in how sampling design affects inference and the design of more (cost) effective sampling strategies.

Ongoing research projects and interests:

  • Aquatic ecosystems (classification/diversity/invasive species/climate change/human stressors in the catchment):
    1. Aquatic ecosystem classification modelling (Jones/Schmidt/Melles) and theoretical developments (Melles/Jones/Seelbach; Melles/Ouellete)
    2. Lake catchment characterization and modelling (Iftekarul Alam/Melles/Chu/Lester/Patterson/Rees/) and (Soranno/Cheruvelil/Rusak)
    3. Temperature sentinels NENA: in depth study of lake thermal responses and teleconnections in Northeastern North America (Richardson/Melles/Pilla/Williamson/Heatherington/Knoll)
    4. Predicting longitudinal road-salt concentrations in urban streams given land-based inputs (Ash/Oswald-Melles)
    5. Aquatic invasive species modelling given climate change (Fera et al.)
  • Observation and the design of effective sampling strategies
    1. Optimizing the location of Road Weather Information Systems (Kwon/Fu/Melles)
    2. Snow-depth monitoring for wildlife (Melles/Hussein/Middel/Pond)
    3. Statistical models of fish-mercury levels in lakes across Ontario (Thomas/ Melles/Bhavsar/Jackson)
    4. Locating Small Plant Populations by Exploiting Pollen Movement (Campbell et al.)
  • Terrestrial ecosystems
    1. Comparing cross-scale patterns of diversity in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems
    2. Species distribution and diversity modelling
    3. Urban bird studies


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