I have moved! I am now an assistant professor in the Department of Biology and Marine Biology at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. My new contact information is:Dept. Biology and Marine Biology Unversity of North Carolina Wilmington 601 S. College Rd. Wilmington, NC 28403 T: 910.962.2411
I plan to maintain this webpage until my new site (http://people.uncw.edu/borretts/) is ready.
I am fascinated by the lawful processes that create, maintain, and constrain ecological systems, and my research interests include systems ecology, ecological modeling and analysis, and ecological informatics. Currently, I am a Postdoctoral Research Scientist in the Computational Learning Laboratory at the Center for the Study of Language and Information at Stanford University. I am also affiliated with Dr. Pat Langley's Institute for the Study of Learning and Expertise in Palo Alto, CA, and Dr. Kevin Arrigo's Ocean Biogeochemistry Laboratory at Stanford. In collaboration, these laboratories are developing a novel modeling framework and software to facilitate the computational induction of explanatory process models, and applying this methodology to model aquatic ecosystems including the Ross Sea in Antarctica and Bled Lake in Slovenia.
In May 2005, I completed a Ph.D. at the University of Georgia’s Institute of Ecology where I studied ecosystem ecology with Dr. Bernard Patten. Prior to graduate school, I completed a B.A. in Biology with a minor in environmental studies at Austin College, and worked for ENTRIX, Inc as an environmental consultant preparing environmental impact assessments and management plans, primarily for oil and gas development in Latin America. Through this work I discovered a dearth of ecological theory underpinning the environmental impact assessment process. Despite great strides in the last three decades, our understanding of the organization and transformation of ecological and environmental systems is lacking. I entered graduate school specifically to work on this challenge, and chose to focus my research on the causes and consequences of indirect effects, as they are a fundamental element of ecosystem complexity. My primary approach has been systems analysis of network models of energy-matter fluxes within ecosystems. This approach facilitates qualitative and quantitative descriptions of system organization including indirect effects. Ultimately, my research is building new insight into ecosystem structure and function and advancing our understanding of the causes and consequences of indirect effects in ecological systems. It should also help clarify concepts such as ecosystem health, integrity, and sustainability.