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Ms Caroline McKeon

Caroline McKeon

School of Natural Sciences (Zoology Building)
Trinity College Dublin
Dublin 2

Email:Caroline McKeon

Research interests

On the earth’s dry surface, human influence is everywhere, so biodiversity must be understood in this context. My research interests are in how human disturbance acts as an ecological force, and how it compares to other forces – past and present – in driving broad scale patterns of plant and animal occurrence and abundance. We know the composition of biodiversity changes in response to human influence. We also know there is huge variety in the strategies plants and animals use to survive and reproduce. I investigate how these different strategies interact with land use to affect species today. More information on which strategies allow species to thrive, and which are not optimal in human dominated environments may help us to prioritise conservation efforts, and protect ecosystem services on which we depend.

PhD Research

I use data driven Bayesian and frequentist modelling techniques to investigate how the dominant driver of global biodiversity loss, human disturbance, is differentially affecting species from across taxa worldwide. I integrate phylogeny, life history, functional trait and climate data to investigate which species are benefiting, and which are declining in light of anthropogenic pressure. My work incorporates elements of macroecology and biogeography, as well as population, community and spatial ecology. In addition to the core work of my PhD thesis, I maintain an interest in evolutionary ecology through collaborative side projects. I primarily use data from existing opensource datasets, though my work also includes observational and manipulative experimental field studies, which take place within the framework of collaborative global research networks (PlantPopNet and the Nutrient Network).

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