Université de Sherbrooke
Dr. Mark Vellend is a plant ecologist who works at the interface between ecology and evolutionary biology. His research helps us understand how human-derived environmental change and evolutionary processes interact to affect biodiversity at multiple levels (species and genetic) and the sustainability of ecosystems.
Vellend’s team draws on historical data, including plant surveys done by early European settlers to North America, to uncover long-term changes in plant communities and test the ecological and evolutionary processes underpinning such changes. His research has upended some widely held assumptions. For instance, the team showed that it is seed consumption by animals, rather than colder temperatures, that limit how far plant species drift northward.
His new research will track plant biodiversity changes around the world over recent decades, when human impacts on the Earth have been the greatest.