Brendan Hobart, PhD graduate researcher, student, Johnson Lab
Research interests: niche, biodiversity, parasitism, trophic interactions

In our human-dominated world, anthropogenic drivers like climate change and land use alter biotic interactions such as competition, predation, and parasitism, with consequences for populations, communities, and ecosystems. As an ecologist, I’m broadly interested in studying relationships among these topics with the goals of better understanding species’ roles in ecosystems and, ultimately, conserving biodiversity. The ecological niche concept is a guiding theme in my work, given that species’ niches ultimately determine where they can occur, what they do there, and which other species they can coexist with. I use tools like occupancy models and stable isotopes to study different aspects of species’ niches.

Prior to joining the Johnson lab, I received my B.S. and M.S. degrees at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (with a couple years of field jobs between the two). For my master’s, I worked with Dr. Zach Peery to quantify habitat associations, population processes, and trophic interactions of spotted owls in the Sierra Nevada. I also studied a diversity of other bird and mammal species during my time as an undergraduate and between degrees. As a member of the Johnson lab, I’ll be studying the relationship between biodiversity and parasitism, the impacts of invasive species, and aquatic-terrestrial nutrient exchanges.

Aside from research, I enjoy hiking/biking/climbing outdoors, reading fiction, and discovering good beers.