Spatiotemporal patterns of biodiversityI'm interested in applying a historical biographical perspective to addressing questions about community assembly and patterns of species richness such as the latitudinal diversity gradient. Some of these questions include understanding the scale dependence of community processes and the implications of the "regional community" concept, identifying factors that influence patterns of intraspecific or superspecific biodiversity, and using coalescent theory and cutting-edge statistical methods for high-dimensional data to improve hindcasts of historical species distributions.
Ecological/Biodiversity InformaticsEcology and evolutionary biology are undergoing a revolution due to the increasing prevalence of automation and data availability, allowing us to answer questions that would have been impossible to address manually. My research questions approach the boundary of what's computationally feasible or practical, so I build tools to improve data accessibility and automate important tasks. Here are some of my informatics projects, all of which are open source and available to use or modify:
- EcoData Retriever: Quickly download, clean up, and install ecological datasets into a database management system
- PhyloCommons: a web application frontend to rdf-treestore to allow community storage, querying, and annotation of phylogenies
- rdf-treestore: a phylogenetic database that stores phylogenies in RDF to enable easy querying and annotation
- taxiphy: a collection of scripts to download major taxonomies and generate trees in standard phylogeny formats
- phylolabel: automatically labels nodes representing higher taxa in a phylogeny using a reference taxonomy
More info here.
PublicationsMorris BD, White EP (2013) The EcoData Retriever: Improving Access to Existing Ecological Data. PLoS ONE 8(6): e65848. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0065848 (HTML, PDF)
Messina, F.J., B.D. Morris, and C.W. Fox. Effect of inbreeding on host discrimination and other fitness components in a seed beetle. Annals of the Entomological Society of America. (PDF)