Brian Beckage received an undergraduate degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Cornell University, and an M.S. degree in Biology at the University of Central Florida. For his thesis, he investigated the relationship between species diversity and fire frequency in xeric pinelands of central Florida. While pursuing a Ph.D. at Duke University, where he also completed an M.S. degree in statistics, Dr. Beckage worked with Dr. James Clark and studied the role of seedling recruitment in maintaining species diversity of Southern Appalachian forests. After attaining his Ph.D., he accepted a postdoctoral research position with Dr. William Platt at Louisiana State University where he became interested in pine demography. As a postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Beckage studied the relationship between hurricane and fire disturbances on the dynamics of pine forests in Everglades National Park. While the effects of either fires or hurricanes have been studied in pinelands, much less is known about potential interactions among these disturbances. He investigated the consequences of fires, hurricanes, and their interaction on the population dynamics of the pine savanna overstory using matrix and spatially explicit, individual-based models, parameterized from demographic data collected in the field. The resulting data and models encompass effects of Hurricane Andrew in combination with varied fire regimes and were used to simulate pine dynamics and spatial structure in response to hypothetical disturbance regimes associated with global climate change. Dr. Beckage is currently an Assistant Professor in the Botany Department at the University of Vermont.
J. Nathaniel Holland
J. Nathaniel Holland received his B.S. degree in Biology and Environmental Science in 1993 from Ferrum College in southwestern Virginia. He then attended the University of Georgia where he obtained an M.S. degree in 1995 in Entomology studying the effects of above-ground herbivory on plant carbon allocation and soil food webs. Dr. Holland completed his Ph.D., in the Department of Biology at the University of Miami, in 2001. Dr. Holland and his Ph.D. advisor, T.H. Fleming, co-discovered a pollinating seed-eating mutualism between senita cacti and senita moths, which are endemic to the Sonoran Desert of northwestern Mexico and Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in south-central Arizona. His research is published in journals such as Ecology, Oecologia, American Naturalist, and Theoretical Population Biology. His theoretical research, in collaboration with D.L. DeAngelis and J.L. Bronstein, has lead to several insights, including how fruit abortion by cacti can limit moth population size and thereby increase the net benefits to cactus reproduction, by maximizing the difference between the benefits of moth pollination and the costs of the moth's larvae consuming seeds of cacti. As a postdoctoral fellow, he joined the laboratory of J.L. Bronstein in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona, where he and Bronstein empirically investigated the functional responses of benefits (pollination) and costs (seed consumption) to senita cacti at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. Dr. Holland is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Rice University, Houston, Texas.
Steven Perakis holds a BS from the University of Pennsylvania (1990), an MS from the University of Washington (1994), and his PhD from Cornell University (2000). His research centers on understanding biogeochemical cycles in terrestrial ecosystems, and he has particular interest in discerning how processes within ecosystems shape nutrient losses and whole-system nutrient balances. Steve received the Buell Award from the Ecological Society of America in recognition of his dissertation research into controls on nitrogen cycling in unpolluted, old-growth temperate forests of South America. His postdoctoral research with Peter Vitousek at Stanford University used grasslands of Sequoia National Park as model systems to investigate how rainfall variations drive asynchrony in nutrient supply and demand, with implications for nutrient loss and limitation in a wide range of terrestrial ecosystems. In November 2002, Dr. Perakis took a position as staff scientist with the USGS Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center in Corvallis, Oregon. He is also an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Forest Science at Oregon State University.