Welcome Paul Caplat, new SE!Submitted by editor on 7 February 2018.
We are very happy and proud to welcome Paul Caplat, Queens University, Belfast, to our editorial board. Get to know Paul here and visit his webpage http://paulcaplat.weebly.com/
What's you main research focus at the moment?
I develop approaches to understand and predict species' dynamics in a world of continuous change. At the moment, I focus on three things: 1) understanding the scale of landscape effects on species abundance 2) quantifying the role of macro (regional) and micro (site) effects on grassland resilience to climate change, and 3) the role of forest management to help enhance the so-called "farmland" biodiversity (birds and butterfly that like open habitats). But I've got lots of side projects, happy to develop that another time!
Can you describe your research career?
I trained as an agronomist. From there I was lucky enough to be able to do a PhD at the Centre of Functional and Evolutive Ecology of the CNRS, in Montpellier, France. I studied the consequences of tree encroachment on biodiversity. Then I did a first postdoc at the University of Guelph (Canada) to model forest dynamics (2006), and then one at the University of Queensland (Australia) to model dispersal of invasive trees (2009). See a pattern there? I missed birds, though, so I got a research position at Lund University (Sweden) in 2012 to work on linking forest dynamics and birds. I ended up working a lot on bird range-shifts, which had been one of my long-running research interests. After 5 years in Sweden I moved onto a lectureship at Queen's University, Belfast, where I research and teach conservation biology and modelling.
How come that you became a scientist in ecology?
I grew up in the middle of a forest in France, and I was lucky enough to be exposed to my father's farm, and lots of books. So I constantly went from theory and inspirational stories about exporers to "practice" in the form of long walks in the forest looking for wildlife. At the age of 12 I had decided I wanted to be a wildife biologist in a National park, preferably in Canada....I got pretty close, which I'm very, very grateful for.
What do you do when you're not working?
I used to play a lot of music - not so much anymore, but I still get to play my jazz drumkit or brazilian drums once in a while. To embrace the great outdoors I like nothing better than paddling lakes, rivers or oceans. And in Sweden, I fell in love with lindy-hop (you know, that jumpy Swing dance from the 40's?). I don't practice as much as I'd like, but I try.