Postdoctoral Researcher emeritus
Now at the University of Florida
josh 'dot' miller 'at' wright 'dot' edu
Ph.D., The Committee on Evolutionary Biology, , The University of
S.M., The Committee on Evolutionary Biology, The University of Chicago, 2005
B.A., Department of Geology , Macalester College, 2000
My main research interests are Community Ecology, Paleobiology, and Conservation Biology. I study the ecological information contained in natural accumulations of bones (death assemblages) to establish how animal communities and ecosystems have changed over time. Because bone remains (including the fossil record) are often our only glimpses into past communities, much of my work is geared towards understanding how faithfully bone accumulations record animal populations, species interactions, and biogeography. In addition, although ecosystems worldwide are undergoing dramatic shifts in community structure, richness, and biogeography due to habitat destruction, over-harvesting, and global climate change, our understanding of those communities is usually limited to mere seasons- to years-worth of ecological data. Bone accumulations (which record many generations of high-quality ecological data) are sources of historical insight into past ecosystem and community states and give us baseline estimates with which to place modern communities into historical contexts. By incorporating ecological data over decades, centuries, and millennia, we can establish patterns of natural ecological variability, determine the true severity of current ecological trends, and design management and conservation strategies to help protect modern biodiversity and ecosystem services.
Through a multidisciplinary approach that brings together paleobiology, taphonomy, ecology, wildlife management, conservation biology, and GIS, my research explores the ecological data contained in death assemblages from the modern (Yellowstone National Park), sub-fossil (Wind River Glaciers, WY), and fossil (Tiktaalik) realms. Using fieldwork, quantitative analyses, and statistical modeling, I am refining our understanding of the biological data contained in death assemblages and providing new tools for recovering those data from recent, historical, and fossil accumulations.
For more information, please visit my personal webpage!