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Jake Lawlor
PhD Candidate

Sunday Lab
Department of Biology
McGill University

Supervised by Jennifer Sunday

Effects of species traits, protective status, and environmental forces on species range shifts

Species around the world are shifting their distribution ranges in response to climate change, but not all species are shifting at the same rate. While some species are highly mobile and have few barriers to dispersal or long-distance migration, others depend largely on environmental forces such as wind and ocean currents for movement, and these environmental forces may or may not match the direction of climate shifts. Mobility-limited species in directionally mismatched environments may therefore be at higher risk of extinction as climate change continues.

My research seeks to understand species range shifts in one such directionally variable environment, the California Current Marine Ecosystem. Using long-term data from the past, I am working to predict species range shifts in the future and understand how marine habitat protection may mitigate biodiversity impacts of range-shifting species. My ultimate goal is to build predictive ecological models to better inform policy-based solutions.