Background and Research Interests:
My research is focused on understanding how climate and climate change influence species distributions and ecological patterns, requiring the use of GIS, spatial analyses, and R. In the past, much of my work has looked at how host-parasite interactions and animal phenological shifts are altered by environmental change across large spatial and temporal scales. For example, some of my dissertation work at the University of South Florida in Tampa, FL, investigated how spatial scale moderates the influences of climate, species richness, and human-assisted dispersal on the U.S.-wide distributions of amphibian chytridiomycosis, Lyme disease, and West Nile virus. Another large dissertation project involved a meta-analysis of a global dataset of animal phenological responses between 1950-2012, finding that depending on latitude, species advance their annual behaviors (e.g., migration, nesting) in response to either temperature or precipitation shifts. In several other projects, I synthesized data from hundreds of papers reporting disease data in the field and examined the role of mean temperature and temperature variability in driving disease outbreaks across a wide range of host species. The main conclusion from this work is that across a variety of host-parasite systems, hosts adapted to warmer climates are most susceptible to infectious disease when conditions are unusually cool, while hosts from cooler climates are most susceptible under unusually warm conditions and might be at greater risk of parasitism under climate change.
As a postdoc in the Zuckerberg lab, I will be using eBird data (large-scale citizen science data describing the diversity and abundance of birds in space and time) to examine how avian species are shifting their geographic ranges across latitude and elevation in response to recent changes in North American climates. This work will be done in collaboration with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
or @drjerbs (twitter)
Ph.D., Biology (Ecology and Evolution) – University of South Florida, Integrative Biology Department, 2016.
B.S., Biology (Ecology, Evolution, Behavior) – SUNY Binghamton University, 2010.
Cohen, J., McMahon, T., Ramsay, C., Roznik, E.A., Sauer, E.L., Bessler, S., Civitello, D.J., Delius, B., Halstead, N., Knutie, S.A., Nguyen, K., Ortega, N., Sears, B., Venesky, M.D., Young, S., Rohr, J.R. 2019. “Impacts of thermal mismatches on disease prevalence are moderated by life stage, body size, elevation and latitude.” Ecology Letters, 22(5), 817-825. Featured on cover.
Cohen, J., Civitello, D., Venesky, M., McMahon, T., Rohr, J. “An interaction between climate change and infectious disease drove widespread amphibian declines.” Global Change Biology, 25(3), 927-937.
Rohr, J., Civitello, D., Cohen, J., Roznik, B., Sinvervo, B., Dell, A. 2018. “The complex drivers of thermal acclimation and breadth in ectotherms.” Ecology Letters 21(9): 1425-1439.
Cohen, J., Lajeunesse, M., Rohr, J. 2018. “A global synthesis of animal phenological responses to climate change”. Nature Climate Change 8: 224-228
Cohen, J. Venesky, M., Sauer, E., Civitello, D., McMahon, T., Roznik, B., Rohr, J. 2017. “The thermal mismatch hypothesis explains outbreaks of an emerging infectious disease.” Ecology Letters 20(2): 184-193.
Cohen, J. Civitello, D., Brace, A., Feichtinger, E., Ortega, N., Richardson, J., Sauer, E., Rohr, J. 2016. “Spatial scale modulates the strength of ecological processes driving disease distributions.” Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences 113: E3359-E3364.
Civitello, D., Cohen, J. Fatima, H., Halstead, N., Liriano, J., McMahon, T., Ortega, N., Sauer, E., Sehgal, T., Young, S., Rohr, J. 2015. “Biodiversity inhibits natural enemies: broad evidence for the dilution effect.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112: 8667-8671.
I am also a semi-professional wildlife photographer- click here for wildlife photography!