Nyeema Harris

Nyeema Harris

Assistant Professor
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
University of Michigan 

Academic Background

I received my PhD from North Carolina State University in 2011 studying the biogeography of carnivores and their parasites. From 2012-2013, I was a NSF and Chancellor’s postdoctoral fellow in the Environmental Science, Policy and Management Department at University of California, Berkeley. Most recently, I completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Luc Hoffmann Institute, WWF International (2014-2015).

Research Interests

A fundamental theme in ecology aims to elucidate the mechanisms promoting and threatening species persistence. The geographic ranges of species are discrete and contiguous, but not static or trophically-independent. Instead, species are respondent to environmental and anthropogenic perturbations, and can have cascading effects on affiliate species. The combination of conditions and species distributions comprise ecological communities that are spatially heterogeneous. The principle goal of my research program is to understand the biogeography of ecological communities by answering three leading questions. 1) What abiotic and biotic factors delimit species ranges including those of conservation and human concern? 2) How are species interactions distributed across temporal and spatial scales? 3) What are the consequences of extirpations (or expansions) on communities? To answer these questions, past and ongoing projects incorporate biogeochemistry, genetics, species distribution modeling, community and population simulations, animal capture and telemetry, parasitology, and non-invasive monitoring within mammal systems. Ultimately, discerning the plasticity of ecological associations is necessary to inform the vulnerability of species to external threats, and identify integral processes that promote biodiversity and community viability.