iEcoLab graduate students Payton Phillips and Timothy Swartz each presented at the North American Regional Association of the International Association for Landscape Ecology (IALE-NA) annual meeting this year. Though the meeting was supposed to be held in Toronto, Canada, it occurred entirely virtually due to COVID-19.
Payton’s talk focused on the landscape genetics of Caribbean lizards, titled “Why didn’t the lizard cross the road? Landscape genetics reveals barriers to movement depend on species disturbance-tolerance.” The aim of Payton’s research is to understand how human development on Curaçao alters the movement of three lizard species. The talk was presented during the conference’s special symposium “Landscape genetics as a tool for managing human-impacted landscapes.” Payton says that even though the talk was pre-recorded, “it was played during a live session, with time for questions over Zoom. I got some very insightful questions and found the virtual experience worthwhile.”
Timothy presented a virtual poster titled Urban birds as ecosystem service providers: Exploring patterns of avian functional diversity in city green spaces. He highlighted his research on the functional responses of urban bird communities to variables such as tree cover and urbanization intensity. Since the poster was presented virtually, in addition to providing visual aspects like illustrative figures and text, Timothy was able to record short blurbs describing the background, methods, and main findings of the study. Timothy said, “attendees provided some helpful ideas and I look forward to next year’s conference!”