Research Interests

I have many and varied interests in ecology. I have worked on birds (mallards, yellow-eyed juncos, dark-eyed juncos, homing pigeons), grey squirrels, pumpkinseed sunfish, grazing mammals (sheep and goats), spiders, aphids (bird cherry-oat aphid), fungi (Neotyphodium spp.), plants (tall fescue, perennial ryegrass, white clover, common ragwort), viruses (barley yellow dwarf) and bacteria. Like many ecologists, my research is motivated by questions rather than systems. I choose systems to work with because I think they will be good for examining basic ecological questions.

My current research focuses on two related issues: predicting the biological impacts of climate change; and the ecological effects of endophytic fungi.  

Some On-going Projects

Cereal aphids and climate change

Endophytic fungi and climate change

Endophytic fungi and plant biochemical pathways

Endophytes, climate change & phloem sap composition

Endophyte-mycorrhizal fungi interactions

Long-term ecological impacts of endophytic fungi

Herbivore responses to climate change: bioclimate envelope approach

Biodiversity, ecosystem function and spatial scale

Invasive potential of biofuel grasses   

Book Projects

J.A. Newman, M. Anand, H.A.L. Henry, S. Hunt and Z. Gedalof Climate Change Biology. Publisher: CABI.  2011.  This book was published in April 2011.  The aim of this book is to provide an introduction to climate change biology and give a synthesis of progress to date.  It is intended for upper level undergraduates and beginning graduate students..  

J.A. Newman, G. Varner and S. Linquist.  Defending Conservation: Environmental Ethics for Environmentalists.  Publisher: Cambridge University Press.  Due Date: September 2012.  Imagine that you are an environmentalist who believes passionately that the United States should not drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.  Imagine that you want to convince the Governor of Alaska that doing so would be wrong, then you will need good arguments to do so.  Good arguments need to be logically consistent, coherent, and substantive.  There is no denying the passionate feelings of environmentalists for their causes, but the arguments offered in support of their positions are often weak. Sometimes they lack empirical substance – they are not supported by good biological science – and other times they are philosophically naive. Arguments about the environment and how humans ought to treat the environment have been going on for decades within the academic discipline of environmental ethics.  All the opening gambits in these arguments have been thought of before, and all these gambits have standard responses.  Environmentalists seem to rely on these well-worn opening gambits but are seemingly unaware of the standard counter arguments.  As a result their arguments are far less effective than they could be, and do little to advance the quality of discussion.  In this book, our goal will be to critically examine the arguments in favor of conserving biodiversity.  We won’t be telling environmentalists what to think, but we will challenge them to improve their arguments by exposing them to the suite of standard gambits and responses.  By carefully explaining where the main objections lie with regard to their chosen views, we hope that they will be better able to engage in public debate and to rationally inform public policy.

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