Russell Schmitt

Professor of Ecology
Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology
photo of Russell Schmitt

My research interests focus on the ecological processes and mechanisms that influence dynamics of populations and communities, as well as their resilience to perturbation. I make extensive use of field experiments and observations to explore such fundamental issues as consumer - resource interactions (e.g., predator-prey, exploitation competition, apparent competition), population dynamics and regulation, and bio-diversity and coexistence of competitors. My work on resilience focuses on dynamically-important feedbacks and how they are affected by natural and anthropomorphic factors. All of my work has been conducted in subtidal reef environments of temperate and tropical marine ecosystems using both benthic invertebrates and reef fishes as model systems. Because many marine organisms have dispersing life stages (and therefore can have local populations that are demographically open), reef systems provide the opportunity to explore issues related to connectivity, scale dependency and to the causes and consequences of variation in the contributions of different processes to abundance, dynamics and regulation. I currently serve as the Lead PI for the Moorea Coral Reef LTER site, which is part of NSF's Long Term Ecological Research Program.