Akçakaya Lab
Applied Ecology and Conservation Biology








Volcano rabbit metapopulation

Photo: Okan ARIHAN

Research Interests

Our research focuses on developing and applying quantitative methods to address questions in conservation biology and environmental risk assessment. Below are brief descriptions of some of our research areas.

Measuring Recovery and Conservation Success

A new framework aims to measure the recovery status of species and the impact of conservation actions. Starting with an objective, practical, and ambitious definition of a fully recovered species, the framework proposes 4 conservation metrics to quantify the impact of past and future conservation measures. For more information, see Green List: Quantifying species recovery and conservation success.

Climate Change Impacts on Biodiversity

We develop and apply methods that link climate change models, species distribution or habitat suitability models, and metapopulation models with dynamic spatial structure, to predict the vulnerability of species to global climate change. For more information, see Climate Change Impacts on Biodiversity.

Status and Trends of Biodiversity

Research to assess the vulnerability of species to extinction, and to quantify and analyze the threat status of species and trends in threat status involves:

Population Dynamics

We are interested in developing new methods for modeling population dynamics, estimating model parameters, analyzing population declines, and validating extinction risk estimates. Research in this areas has involved

Species Conservation

We use habitat-based metapopulation models to estimate the risk of extinction or decline, and to evaluate the chances for recovery with different management and conservation options. Research in this area includes both the continued development of modeling platforms for population viability analysis, and case studies that apply these models to a variety of species, including

European Bison Snowy Plover Northern Spotted Owl
Volcano Rabbit Sage Sparrow California Spotted Owl
European Hare Skylark Marbled Murrelet
Iberian Lynx Sharp-tailed Grouse Red-cockaded Woodpecker
Rabbit in Australia Least Tern Helmeted Honeyeater
Turkish Mouflon California Gnatcatcher Golden-cheeked Warbler
Jaguar Red-shouldered Hawk Land Snail
Wood Frog American Bittern Leptocheirus plumulosus
Banksia goodi Pileated Woodpecker Neanthes arenaceodentata

Demographic Toxicity

Currently, most assessments of the ecological impacts of pollutants use bioassays at the individual organism level. We are interested in developing standard methods that will allow ecotoxicological impacts to be assessed at the more relevant population and species levels. (Read about a book on methods and case studies of ecotoxicological risk assessment at the population level.)