Janielle Porter

Winter twigs by river

Janielle portrait

I am currently a PhD student working at the University of Zürich funded by the Swiss National Fonds (SNF) under the supervision of Lindsay Turnbull.  In the project we are applying coexistence models to understand the dynamics of high-disparity seed size sand-dune annual communities under experimentally applied disturbance treatments. We plan to bridge ideas from the bodies of ecological competition and coexistence literature with those from biodiversity and ecosystem functioning to form a greater understanding of the maintenance of species diversity and stable coexistence.

Prior to beginning my PhD work in Zürich, I completed my masters at the University of Lund, Sweden, in Plant Ecology and Systematics. There I wrote my thesis on the role of arbuscular mycorrhiza and enemy release in the invasive species Rosa rugosa.

The contrast between the apparent fragility of ecosystems to some factors and their robustness to others forms the foundation of my motivation in ecology. How we assess risk, understand limitations, and pursue opportunities associated with the human/environmental interface is crucial for sustainable progress. These important kinds of environmental decisions can only be made through the establishment of solid ecological theory.