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Joel Brown
Joel Brown, PhD
Professor
UIC Biological Sciences, SES 3352 M/C 066
845 West Taylor Street
Chicago, IL 60607

Office: (312) 996-4289
Fax: (312) 413-2435
Email: squirrel@uic.edu

Dr. Brown's lab web site

About Dr. Brown's Research

I am an evolutionary ecologist. I ask the question: How does natural selection acting as an optimization process determine feeding behaviors, population characteristics, and the properties of communities? My research includes the mathematical formulation and field tests of models and hypotheses based on foraging theory, consumer-resource models of species coexistence, and evolutionary game theory using the concept of evolutionary stable strategies (ESS).

To study foraging behaviors and link these behaviors to population and community level processes, I have extended Charnov's marginal value theorem of patch use, and developed giving-up density (GUD) approach for assaying foraging costs and benefits. A foraging animal should leave a depletable food patch when the harvest rate no longer exceeds the metabolic, predation, and missed opportunity costs of foraging. When harvest rates are related to the remaining abundance of food, then the amount of food remaining in experimental food patches, the GUD, estimates the point at which the animal has balanced costs and benefits. At present, I am using the giving-up density approach to examine the ecology of fear in fox squirrels, the community organization of desert granivores in the Negev Desert, Israel (with Dr. Burt Kotler), the effects of granivory, herbivory, and fire on prairie restorations (with Dr. Henry Howe ), and applications to the ecology of black rhinoceros (with Alina Kipchumba), show leopards preying upon blues sheep (with Mahesh Gurung), and mountain lions preying upon mule deer (with John Laundre).

Representative Publications

Schmidt KA, Earnhardt JM, Brown JS and Holt RD (2000) Habitat selection under temporal heterogeneity: Sinking the ghost of competition past. Ecology 81:2622-2630.

Howe HF and Brown JS (2000) Early effects of rodent granivory on experimental forb communities. Ecological Applications 10:917-924.

Garb J, Kotler BP and Brown JS (2000) Foraging and community consequences of seed size for coexisting crested lark and Allenby's gerbil Oikos 88:291-300.

Cohen Y, Vincent TL and Brown JS (1999) A G-function approach to fitness minima, fitness maxima, evolutionarily stable strategies and adaptive landscapes. Evolutionary Ecology Research 1:923-942.