Dissertation Topic: Ryan works on bark beetle fungal symbiosis and how this may facilitate or constrain adaptation and lead to beetle-fungal coevolution and codiversification. He primarily focuses on the western pine beetle and tackles these questions using a combination of molecular genetics, field studies, and manipulative experiments. He is also exploring the genetic basis of reproductive isolation in the mountain pine beetle and the evolution of body size differences between the sexes of bark beetles.
Dissertation Topic: Dissertation Topic: My research addresses biogeochemistry, soil ecology, and ecosystem processes. Specifically, I am interested in how microbial communities assemble and function in the earliest stages of primary succession. Using recently deglaciated landscapes as a model system, my dissertation work explores whether there are general patterns to the nature and trajectory of microbial community succession and whether differences in microbial communities translate into meaningful differences in ecological function.
Ph.D. Student, Forestry Advisor: Dr. Steven W. Running
Global and regional scale constraints to human appropriation of net primary production
Expansion of the human appropriation of net primary production (HANPP)is a future certainty given an exponentially growing food demand and an unstable future energy economy. Yet, our current understanding of the impacts of increasing HANPP is limited and the subject of intense debate in the scientific community. The focus of my dissertation will be to improve our current understanding regarding the impacts of, and future potential for, HANPP through the use of satellite data and ecosystem process modeling.