Background and Research Interests:
As a quantitative ecologist, I enjoy working with large datasets while developing and/or implementing novel statistical methods. My research spans evolutionary ecology, biogeography and conservation science, with a particular focus on spatial analysis, GIS and R. My research journey began in the UK, where I studied the speciation processes among the endemic reptiles in Madagascar. This research introduced me to species distribution models (e.g., Maxent), ecological niche theory and established my interest in applying biogeographic concepts and methods to conservation questions. Even though I did not get to travel to Madagascar, this research also gave me the perfect excuse to use colorful photos of chameleons and geckos in my presentations.
After completing my doctoral dissertation, I moved from London to Providence, Rhode Island to join the Sax Lab (Brown University) as a postdoctoral fellow. My work there focused on predicting the impacts of future climate change on 1700 endemic US plants. I utilized and developed statistical methods to generate information on the climatic conditions and regions where these species are likely to persist or be extirpated by the 2050s and 2070s.
Finally, my research brought me to the Zuckerberg Lab in Madison, Wisconsin, where I use data from citizen science projects such as the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas and Bumble Bee Watch. I continue to apply quantitative spatial tools to analyze the impacts of climate and land use change on declining grassland birds and bumble bee populations in the Upper Midwest. This work is a collaboration with Dr. Claudio Gratton and Dr. Christine Ribic at UW-Madison, the US Department of Agriculture, the US Geological Survey and US Fish and Wildlife Service.
Ph.D., Biology – University College London, Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment, 2017.
MRes., Ecology, Evolution and Conservation – Imperial College London, 2013
B.S., Biological Sciences (Zoology) – University of Birmingham, 2012.
Nunes, L.A. and Pearson, R.G., 2017. A null biogeographical test for assessing ecological niche evolution. Journal of Biogeography, 44(6), pp.1331-1343.
Nunes, L.A., Turvey, S.T. and Rosindell, J., 2015. The price of conserving avian phylogenetic diversity: a global prioritization approach. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 370(1662), p.20140004.