Robert Fisher

Biologist U.S. Geological Survey

Our research program focusses on how biodiversity and ecological integrity are impacted by various perturbations resulting from landscape changes during the anthropocene epoch.  We focus on southern California and on islands throughout the Pacific Basin, and study a variety of non-marine taxa.  We utilize a broad range of tools, from molecular genetics to field ecological surveys, to investigate ecological and evolutionary responses of these systems.  For the most part our research is has a strongly applied component, and managers can and do utilize our results in their decision processes.  In some cases basic taxonomy is required to determine levels of species diversity and biodiversity, and for these studies we incorporate morphological and genetic analyses. Other investigations carried out by our team focus on how natural and anthropogenic landscape features impact biodiversity.  Recently we have worked extensively on ecosystem level-perturbations which include removal of invasive species from islands (i.e. rats in the Pacific) and large-scale fires in southern California, and how these systems respond to such catastrophic modifications.  We also spend a considerable amount of time and energy monitoring species utilizing occupancy modeling approaches, particularly for cryptic and/or rare taxa.  We have developed movement models (2-D and 3-D) utilizing individual-based models for species parameterized with high resolution (spatial and temporal) GPS tracking to assess responses of species to modern and alternative future landscapes, to inform planners in an effort to reduce future connectivity or alternative energy conflicts.

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