Community Ecology in a Changing World

Our research bridges community ecology with macroecology to disentangle the drivers that shape our natural communities in a changing world.  We focus on understanding feedbacks among processes that operate at the community scale and across regional to continental scales.  Using experimental field approaches primarily in benthic marine systems, we explore (1) the impact of species interactions on community assembly and ecosystem function, particularly resistance to invasion by non-native species, and (2) how these processes structure patterns of community structure and diversity in space and time.  One of our principal interests lies in understanding how these dynamics change across broad biogeographic gradients that define our biosphere, such as latitude.  Therefore, our field studies span the subarctic to the tropics.

Dr. Amy Freestone also directs the Temple Ambler Field Station, which serves as a platform for faculty and student research, field courses, and year-round undergraduate research internships.  The Field Station supports research and field-based education across disciplines, with strengths in the environment and sustainability.  We also steward a 4-hectare forest research site, the Temple Forest Observatory, where researchers and students, including the Freestone Lab, study the impacts of extreme weather on ecological and environmental dynamics.

In addition to pursuing these research interests, Dr. Freestone directs the Ecology, Evolution and Biodiversity (EEB) Bachelor of Science degree program, which trains the next generation of scientists to pioneer new insights into the natural world, clarify the processes that maintain and change it, and develop innovative approaches to its conservation.

Department of Biology, Temple University