About Dr. Minor's Research
I have a wide range of interests related to how humans alter natural landscapes and the ecological communities within them. As human populations grow and demand more resources, fewer and fewer places on the planet remain untouched by our influence. Therefore, I believe that it is important to understand the impact we are having on the world around us.
For example, habitat fragmentation is almost always an outcome of urban development. The way in which a natural habitat is fragmented during the course of development may have large and poorly understood effects on the species in that habitat. Fragmentation causes "edge effects", which have been shown to alter plant growth and avian breeding success, among other things. Fragmentation also usually increases distance between habitat patches, which can impede the ability of native species to move across the landscape. Conversely, some introduced (exotic) species are able to spread more quickly across fragmented landscapes. I am interested in how these and other factors interact to affect ecological communities and processes at the landscape scale.
I use a combination of field studies, GIS, and simulation modeling in my research. Past projects include the effect of fragmentation, surrounding land cover, and traffic noise on forest bird communities in the North Carolina Piedmont. Ongoing research projects include understanding the distribution, spread, and management of exotic plants in forest fragments in Antietam National Battlefield. Other interests include the use of graph theory (or network analysis) to measure habitat connectivity across landscapes. As a new faculty member at UIC, I intend to focus much of my future research efforts on the surrounding landscape. I am particularly interested in understanding how species can adapt and thrive in such a metropolitan environment, how we can further encourage the existence of native species, and how we can discourage the spread of exotic species in the Chicago area.
Matteson, K.D., J.B. Grace, and E.S. Minor. In press. Direct and indirect effects of land use on floral resources and flower-visiting insects across an urban landscape. Oikos.
Davis, A.Y., J.A. Belaire, M.A. Farfan, D. Milz, E.R. Sweeney, S.R. Loss, E.S. Minor. 2012. Green infrastructure and bird diversity across an urban socioeconomic gradient. Ecosphere 3(11): 1-18.
Pruett-Jones, S., C. Appelt, A. Sarfaty, B. Van Vossen, M. Leibold, and E.S. Minor. 2012. Urban parakeets in northern Illinois: a 40-year perspective. Urban Ecosystems 15: 709-719.
Matteson, K., D. Taron, and E.S. Minor. 2012. Assessing citizen contributions to butterfly monitoring in two large cities. Conservation Biology 26 (3): 557-564.
Minor, E.S. and R.H. Gardner. 2011. Landscape connectivity and seed dispersal characteristics inform the best management strategy for exotic plants. Ecological Applications 21(3): 739-749.
Minor, E.S. and T. Lookingbill. 2010. A multi-scale network analysis of protected area connectivity for mammals in the United States. Conservation Biology 24: 1549–1558.
Minor, E.S. and D.L. Urban. 2010. Forest bird communities across a gradient of urban development. Urban Ecosystems 13: 51-71.
Minor, E.S. and D.L. Urban. 2008. A graph theory framework for evaluating landscape connectivity and conservation planning. Conservation Biology 22: 297-307.