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Diane M. Debinski



Debinski, Diane

Office:249 Bessey Hall

Phone: 515-294-2460







Department: Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology

Research Interests: Conservation biology, landscape ecology, and restoration ecology

Brief description of current research:

I take a landscape approach to investigating issues relative to climate change and biodiversity.  Thus have incorporated many of the approaches from the field of landscape ecology, using tools such as remote sensing and GIS.  My montane meadow research in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem provides insight into how a relatively pristine community exhibits interannual change relative to climatic variation.  I have been monitoring 55 montane meadows since 1997 and these meadows are arrayed along a hydrological gradient from hydric to mesic to xeric.  The beauty of this study system is that 1) there is a wide range of soil moisture conditions within a small geographic distance, and 2) given that this is a relatively water-limited system, it provides an opportunity to observe large-scale changes in plant and animal distribution patterns relative to rather small-scale changes in soil moisture.  Much of my recent work includes a synthesis of long-term ecological data, focusing on how species distributions of plants, birds, and butterflies change relative to interannual variation in precipitation and temperature.  My next steps include testing hypotheses regarding the mechanisms for these community changes via experimental manipulations of soil water content. 

Recent publications:

Debinski, D.M.and M. Cross.  (invited chapter, in press).  Conservation and Global Climate Change chapter in The Princeton Guide to Ecology.  (Simon Levin, Editor-in-Chief Section on Conservation Biology (David Wilcove, Associate Editor).  Princeton University Press.

Debinski, D.M., R.E. VanNimwegen and M.E. Jakubauskas. 2006. Quantifying relationships between bird and butterfly community shifts and environmental change.  Ecological Applications 16(1):380-393.

Debinski, D.M., M.E. Jakubauskas and K. Kindscher.  2000.  Montane meadows as indicators of environmental change.   Environmental Monitoring and Assessment. 64:213-225.

Debinski, D.M., M.E. Jakubauskas and K. Kindscher.  1999.  A remote sensing and GIS-based model of habitats and biodiversity in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.   International Journal of Remote Sensing 20:3281-3292.