Erica A. Newman

Natural and anthropogenic disturbance, wildfire, and macroecology


A better understanding of various disturbance types and quantitative comparisons of their effects over multiple scales is required for both species-level and landscape-scale conservation efforts, however, few quantitative syntheses of cross-system comparisons of disturbance effects exist. In my research, I use a number of study systems with known histories of disturbance to quantitatively compare different disturbance types and their effects on macroecological metrics such as rarity, diversity, and other measures of community structure.

My core research develops and applies an information-entropy based framework of macroecology that predicts spatial scaling, metabolic rate distributions, and and species-level and community-level metrics of species diversity and abundance. My broader research questions fall along the intersection of biodiversity conservation, disturbance ecology, fire management, and disease ecology.

About me

I was originally trained as a physicist, and I switched into the field of ecology after spending some valuable seasons in the field researching birds. I now study macroecology, focusing on ecosystems that have recently experienced ecological disturbances.

I received my PhD from the University of California at Berkeley, where I researched ecological patterns in natural disturbance regimes and systems that have experienced anthropogenic disruption in the labs of Dr. John Harte and Dr. Max Moritz.

Following my PhD, I had the great pleasure of working with Don Falk and Don McKenzie, and was co-employed at the School of Natural Resources at the U of A, and at the Pacific Wildland Fire Laboratory of the US Forest Service in Seattle, WA. I then became a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Arizona in Tucson with Brian Enquist through the Bridging Biodiversity and Conservation Science program.

I am now a Research Scientist at the School of Natural Resources and the Environment at the University of Arizona, but am located at the University of Texas at the Permian Basin. I am currently accepting masters students through UTPB.