- SE CASC
William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor
North Carolina State University
My research is on the most important cause of biodiversity loss, which is the loss of natural areas that support plants and animals. My lab studies creative solutions to overcome the negative effects of this loss of natural areas. The most popular landscape scale conservation strategy is to reconnect natural areas with landscape corridors. Corridors can be as small as urban greenways and as large as the length of entire mountain chains. They are relatively long and thin strips of habitat that can serve as dispersal highways for plants and animals, allowing them access to larger areas of habitat and supporting their populations. I primarily work in large landscape experiments, and my group has shown that corridors increase dispersal of plants and animals, and increase the diversity of species. I also study North America’s rarest butterflies. I study three different species on the east coast, one species lives only on one military base (and is most concentrated within artillery ranges), another lives along a 30 mile stretch of sand dunes on North Carolina barrier islands (a hotspot for vacation homes), and one lives on tiny, remote islands off the Florida Keys. Habitat conservation, and potentially landscape corridors, are important in rescuing these butterflies from extinction.