David Wardle is a Professor of Ecology at Umeå University, and an affiliate professor at SLU in Umeå. His research explores the links between aboveground and belowground communities and how these in turn drive the functioning of terrestrial ecosystems, as well as how these linkages are impacted by global change factors. A large proportion of this research is field based and in natural ecosystems, and is mostly focused on forests and subarctic and subalpine tundra. Much of this work is done in the ecosystems of northern Sweden, though with significant past and present work also in several other parts of the world, notably Southeast and East Asia, Oceania, the Americas, and elsewhere in Europe.
Current projects focus on the community and ecosystem effects of invasive and overabundant plants and animals; the ecological consequences of wildfire in forests; ecosystem changes across natural gradients of elevation (and temperature), ecosystem development and degradation, and retrogression; the ecology, biodiversity and ecosystem functioning of island ecosystems; and ecological consequences of biodiversity loss in real world contexts.
Marcel Visser is widely recognized as a world-leading expert on the ecological and evolutionary impact of anthropogenic environmental changes. He aims to understand how climate change disrupts natural systems, using long-term studies on wild species. His work on phenological mismatch within food chains has turned his model species, the great tit, into the poster child for climate change impact. In his research he integrates work on epigenetic regulation of gene expression, fitness consequences of timing in the wild, with the impact of climate-change on population numbers. More recently, he has started to scale up his research to entire food webs and ecosystems (the LTER-LIFE project www.lter-life.nl), as well as across larger spatial scales (SPI-Birds www.spibirds.org).
Katherine McMahon studies the microbial ecology of both natural and engineered systems. She uses molecular tools to investigate microbial community structure and function in lakes and activated sludge. Her work on freshwater lakes leverages the North Temperate Lakes Long Term Ecological Research program, providing rich contextual data for a 20+ year time series of microbial data. The activated sludge systems are designed to achieve phosphorus and/or nitrogen removal from wastewater, which ultimately protects surface waters from eutrophication. She combines (biogeo)chemical measurements, ‘omics and post-‘omics data, and computational modeling to describe and understand these systems. The overarching goal is the construction of more predictive mechanistic and ecosystem-scale models to use for forecasting and in silico experimentation.