Dr. Brian McGill, University of Maine School of Biology and Ecology:
“The futures of ecology”
A poll of the graduate students who invited me revealed that they most wanted to hear me talk about succeeding as a graduate student, future trends in ecology, and my research on trends in biodiversity. Thus I will address the future of three different senses of the word “ecology”. The first two topics were mostly covered by me in various blog posts on Dynamic Ecology, so I will recap and update those posts. I will summarize my best advice on how to succeed as a graduate student. Then I will talk about how I see the field of ecology and academia changing. Finally, I will briefly discuss my research exploring how biodiversity has (and hasn’t) changed over the last 50 years and what this means about the future of biodiversity.
McGill studies biodiversity and how it is impacted by global change using big data methods. He finished an undergraduate BS in Mathematics at Harvard. He then worked in information technology consulting helping large companies improve decisions with large simulations and analysis of large data for nine years. He then completed a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona in 2003 and an NSF-funded psotdoctoral fellowship in Bioinformatics at Michigan State. He has been a faculty member at McGill University, University of Arizona, and the University of Maine. He is currently a Professor in the School of Biology and Ecology with a joint appointment in the Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions and a courtesy appointment in the Climate Change Institute. He served as Editor-In-Chief of the journal Global Ecology and Biogeography for 7 years and was one of 3 bloggers on the popular academic blog, Dynamic Ecology.
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