Dr. Adam Clark
Department for Physiological Diversity
German Center for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv)
Deutscher Platz 5e
phone: +49 341 973 3228
I am currently a postdoc working with Stan Harpole and Helmut Hillebrand at the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) in Leipzig, Germany. I am broadly interested in how ecological communities persist across space and time. To me, the defining characteristic of ecological communities is that they self-assemble, and that they maintain themselves across large spatial and temporal scales even when faced with perturbations and disturbance. I find this fascinating because it suggests that predictive understanding of community ecology could help us engineer ecological communities that provide particular desired goods and services, but are able to maintain themselves with minimal inputs.
In order to address this topic, I work across many kinds of ecological communities, though I am particularly familiar with tallgrass prairies in the US Midwest, and ant communities in the US North East and the Caribbean. My work includes field experiments, taxonomy, and building new theoretical models. My main focus is on synthesizing existing data and theory (of which there is a lot) in order to build predictive models of community assembly for real-world systems, which remains an elusive goal in ecology.
1. Ph.D. 2011–2017
University of Minnesota Saint Paul, MN
Dept. Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior
Advisor: David Tilman
2. BA, cum laude 2007–2011
Harvard University Cambridge, MA
Major: Environmental Science and Public Policy
Advisor: Brian Farrell
I finished my Ph.D. work in summer 2017, working under David Tilman in the University of Minnesota's Department of Ecology Evolution, and Behavior. My research was conducted predominantly at the Cedar Creek Long Term Ecological Research Site, and worked to explain how interactions among prairie plant species and their environments influenced ecosystem properties. I completed my undergraduate work at Harvard University's Museum of Comparative Zoology in 2011, studying the effects of disturbance on ant community assembly in the Brian Farrell Lab. During this time I also worked as an REU at Harvard Forest, supervised by Shannon Pelini and Israel Del Toro. Though I focus mostly on plant communities these days, but I'm still excited by projects that involve ant ecology and taxonomy.
I. Scientific writing for general audiences:
1. The Graduate School Cookbook: One way to approach PhD applications in ecology <pdf> <github>
This document is a collection of thoughts on the graduate school application process that I've collected over the years from friends and colleagues (mostly relevant in the United States). If you have any comments on items to add or change, please let me know, either through email, or through the Github page.
2. Press Release: Tropical trees, lianas, and spatial structure. Journal of Ecology, 2017. <link>
3. Press Release: Study uses models to peer into salamanders' pasts. American Naturalist, 2017. <link>
4. How to find a moose: intentions in phenomenological and mechanistic models. PLOS Ecology Blog, 2016. <link>
II. Software packages
1. nondirfit: GitHub R project, Adam Clark 2015
2. rEDM: Software Tutorial, Hao Ye, Adam Clark, Ethan Deyle 2015
3. multispatialCCM: CRAN R package 2014
4. tilmanstability: GitHub R project 2013
III. Professional Affiliations
Ecological Society of America: Member since 2010
Society of American Naturalists: Member since 2016
IV. Peer reviews for journals:
Ecography, Ecological Indicators, Ecology, Ecology Letters, Environmental Conservation, Journal of Behavior, Journal of Theoretical Biology, Oikos, Pedobiologia, PLOS ONE
Adam T. Clark, Clarence Lehman, and David Tilman. "Identifying Mechanisms that Structure Ecological Communities by Snapping Model Parameters to Empirically-Observed Tradeoffs". Ecology Letters, 2018 21:494–505, 2018.
For links and pre-prints for all articles below, please see my website here.
Adam T. Clark, Matteo Detto, Helene C. Muller-Landau, Stefan A. Schnitzer, S. Joseph Wright, Richard Condit, and Stephen P. Hubbell. "Functional traits of tropical trees and lianas explain spatial structure across multiple scales". Journal of Ecology, 2018 106:795–806.
Adam T. Clark. Constraints and tradeoffs: Toward a predictive, mechanism-based understanding of ecological communities.
Ph.D. Thesis, 2017.
Adam T. Clark. "Old Fields". In Oxford Bibliographies in Ecology. Ed. David Gibson. New York: Oxford University Press, 2017.
Richard Barnes and Adam T. Clark (authors contributed equally). "65 Million Years of Change in Temperature and Topography Explain Evolutionary History in Eastern North American Plethodontid Salamanders". American Naturalist 190(1), 2017.
Jacob M. Jungers, Adam T. Clark, Kevin Betts, Margaret E. Mangan, Donald L. Wyse, and Craig C. Sheaffer. "Long-Term Biomass Yield and Species Composition in Native Perennial Bioenergy Cropping Systems". Agronomy Journal 107(5):1627-1640, 2015.
Adam T. Clark, H. Ye, Forest Isbell, Ethan R. Deyle, Jane Cowles, David Tilman, and George Sugihara. "Spatial ’convergent cross mapping’ to detect causal relationships from short time-series". Ecology 96(5) 1174-1181, 2015.
Adam T. Clark, Jessica J. Rykken, and Brian D. Farrell. "The effects of biogeography on ant diversity and activity on the Boston Harbor Islands, Massachusetts, USA". PLOS ONE, 6(11), 2011.