Home

***Exciting news. Peter will be joining the faculty at UAF in the summer of 2014

Check out my faculty profile here (http://www.sfos.uaf.edu/directory/faculty/westley/).

I am an evolutionary ecologist who seeks to understand how populations of freshwater fishes respond to abrupt environmental perturbations with the overarching goal of illuminating the processes that give rise to the patterns of within-species diversity  in nature. To date I have used salmonid fishes (salmon, trout, and charr) and the fortuitous natural experiments afford by biological invasions to address this overarching question.

It is increasingly clear that within-species diversity acts as a diverse portfolio to buffer population-complexes against environmental perturbations. This diversity may ultimately influence the probability of long-term population persistence. But how does this portfolio evolve in nature? How quickly can it arise? To what degree do environmental and genetic factors interact to shape this diversity?

Some of the specific questions I have been addressing recently are:

  • What have we learned about the rate and form of phenotypic change (e.g. morphology or life history) following colonization by studying invasive species?
  • How do novel abiotic landscape factors shape the spatial distribution of a colonizing species?
  • Does exposure to  novel environmental conditions  drive morphological divergence in recently established populations? Are responses predictable or chaotic?
  • How do novel abiotic landscape factors shape the spatial distribution of an invading or colonizing species?
  • At what spatial scale and at what speed can populations adapt to local conditions?
  • Does phenotypic plasticity during colonization allow persistence and foreshadow future adaptation?
  • What is the role of large-scale environmental change and climatic forcing on within and among species interactions?

Please visit my research page to learn more.

Thanks for stopping by my site, and please contact me if you have any questions

Website updated 22 January 2014