Habitat loss and fragmentation are considered the leading drivers of biodiversity loss. Landscape experiments can provide unique insight into how fragmentation affects biodiversity and ecological processes at scales that approximate management activities. Corridors are strips of habitat that connect habitat fragments. They are a popularly implemented as a conservation measure for mitigating negative effects of fragmentation. The Savannah River Site Corridor Experiment (South Carolina, USA) is the largest corridor experiment in the world and it is designed to test how corridors function and affect populations and communities. PI's on this project are: Nick Haddad (Kellogg Biological Station, Michigan State University), Doug Levey (NSF), Ellen Damschen (UW-Madison), John Orrock (UW-Madison), Lars Brudvig (Michigan State), and Julian Resasco (University of Colorado). Some past and current work from the lab an the Savannah River Site Corridor Experiment includes: Potential negative effect of corridors on facilitating invasive species;  Dynamics of ant communities (in collaboration with Melissa Burt); Evolutionary effects of corridors (see Relevant publications below). For more on the Savannah River Site Corridor Experiment check out the video below or check out more papers from the project. You can learn more about the science of corridors at Conservation Corridor.  

The Wog Wog Habitat Fragmentation Experiment, is another of the largest and longest running fragmentation experiments. Work at Wog Wog during Julian Resasco's postdoc with Kendi Davies (University of Colorado) included how fragmentation affects species niches, the structure of arthropod food webs, and parasitism. Prospective students interested in working at Wog Wog are encouraged to contact Kendi Davies

Relevant publications:

  • Resasco J, Burt MA, Orrock JL, Haddad NM, Shoemaker D, and Levey DJ (2023). Transient effects of corridors on polygyne fire ants over a decadeEcological Entomology 48: 263– 268.
  • Burt M, Resasco J, Haddad NM, and Whitehead SR (2022). Ants disperse seeds farther in habitat patches with corridorsEcosphere e4324.
  • Resasco J and Fletcher RJ Jr (2021) Accounting for connectivity alters the apparent roles of spatial and environmental processes on metacommunity assemblyLandscape Ecology36: 1089–1099.
  • Damschen EI, Brudvig LA, Burt MA, Fletcher RJ Jr., Haddad NM, Levey DJ, Orrock JL, Resasco J, and Tewksbury JJ. (2019) Ongoing accumulation of plant diversity through habitat connectivity in an 18-year experiment. Science 365(6460):1478-1480. DOI: 10.1126/science.aax8992.
  • Resasco J, Meta-analysis on a decade of testing corridor efficacy: what new have we learned? (2019) Current Landscape Ecology Reports 4(3): 61-69. DOI: 10.1007/s40823-019-00041-9.
  • Resasco J, Bitters ME, Cunningham SA, Jones HI, McKenzie VJ, and Davies KF. (2019) Experimental habitat fragmentation disrupts nematode infections in Australian skinks. Ecology 100(1): e02547. DOI: 10.1002/ecy.2547
  • Resasco J, Tuff KT, Cunningham SA, Melbourne BA, Hicks AL, Newsome SD, and Davies KF. (2018) Generalist predator’s niche shifts reveal ecosystem changes in an experimentally fragmented landscape. Ecography 41(7):1209-1219. DOI: 10.1111/ecog.03476.
  • Resasco J, Bruna EM, Haddad NM, Banks-Leite C, and Margules CR. (2017) The contribution of theory and experiments to conservation in fragmented landscapes. Ecography (Habitat Fragmentation Special Issue) 40(1): 109-118. DOI: 10.1111/ecog.02546.
  • Brudvig, LA, Leroux SJ, Albert CH, Bruna EM, Davies KF, Ewers RM, Levey DJ, Pardini R, and J Resasco. (2017) Evaluating conceptual models of landscape change. Ecography (Habitat Fragmentation Special Issue) 40(1): 74–84DOI: 10.1111/ecog.02543.
  • Haddad NM, Brudvig LA, Damschen, Evans DM, Johnson BL, Levey DJ, Orrock JL, Resasco J, Sullivan LL, Tewksbury JJ, Wagner SA, and AJ Weldon. (2014) A review of the potential negative ecological effects of landscape corridors. Conservation Biology 28:1178-1187DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12323.
  • Resasco J, Haddad NM, Shoemaker DD, Orrock JL, Brudvig LA, EI Damschen, Tewksbury JJ, and Levey DJ. (2014) Landscape corridors can increase invasion by an exotic species and reduce diversity of native species. Ecology 95: 2033–2039. DOI: 10.1890/14-0169.1.
  • Resasco J, Levey DJ, and Damschen EI. (2012) Habitat corridors alter trophic position of fire ants. Ecosphere 3: art. 11. DOI: 10.1890/ES12-00266.1