About me and my research
I am originally from Chile, where I grew up and studied biology as an undergraduate (in case you are wondering, my name does not sound very Latin American, I know; my father is French, which explains it all). I then moved to California, where I completed a degree in Ecology with emphasis in Conservation Biology at UC Davis. Since then, I went back to Chile briefly, then moved to France, then back to the US and back to France, where I am currently based at (and where I hope to remain in the long term, no more international relocations please!).
My research can be framed within the broad disciplines of macroecology, biogeography and community ecology. Within these disciplines, I strive to balance research related to theoretical aspects (e.g., analysis methods and links between theoretical and applied ecology) and potential applications on real world issues, especially as they relate to agriculture and climate change.
I am generally interested in understanding and modeling species distributions and patterns of biodiversity including species richness but also phylogenetic (i.e. diversity in the evolutionary history contained in a community) and functional (i.e. diversity in life history traits and ecological characteristics of species within a community) diversity. I think that using a multi-facetted view of biodiversity can help us link theory and practice in a more effective way than simply looking at species richness. This is a necessary step in predicting potential effects of climate change on the future of biodiversity, which is one of my motivations. Phylogenetic and functional diversity, particularly how clustered or overdispersed these are with respect to random expectations, can inform us regarding the relative roles of competition, facilitation, and environmental filtering in structuring local to regional communities and the mechanisms behind diversity maintenance. More recently, I have been interested on how biodiversity theory and macroecology can be applied to agricultural systems, for example to address questions of biodiversity conservation and landscape structure within agroecosystems.
Scales of study go from metacommunities (i.e. several communities potentially connected through dispersal) to continents, to global, and approaches include virtual ecology, analyses of spatial patterns, and multivariate analyses. I am not particularly attached to one taxon or geographic region, but rather to the idea of identifying common mechanisms, patterns or analysis strategies that can be broadly applied to different ecological systems. I have therefore studied a variety of organisms (birds, plants, fish, mammals) in different regions (Chile, California, France, South Africa, and more recently South East Asia, Ecuador, and sub-Saharan Africa), and I am always happy to explore new horizons with students and colleagues.
Beyond the theoretical advances of macroecological methods, I am also interested in how these methods can be applied to agricultural systems to predict and plan potential effects of climate change on agricultural pests, food security, and on arthropod diversity at large.
I enjoy editorial work, and have participated as handling editor in several journals. I will be soon assuming the role of Deputy-Editor-in-Chief for Ecography, and I just left the same position in the Journal of Biogeography, where I will be staying as a handling editor. These are two of my favorite journals, so I feel honored to be part of their editorial boards.
And last but not least, I have been reflecting a lot recently on all the privileges I have had and the barriers I had to overcome in order to get where I am. Coupled with that comes a reflection on what we can do in our daily lives and beyond to make our work and academic environments more inclusive and diverse. The editorial teams in both of the journals mentioned above have been a great venue to reflect on these issues, but I enjoy discussing with anyone who has ideas around these topics as well.
You can follow me on twitter @cn_meynard
Web of Science ResearcherID B-2082-2010