Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Levin, Simon A.
Location Princeton University
Primary Field Environmental Sciences and Ecology
Secondary Field Evolutionary Biology
 Election Citation
Through brilliant and original theoretical work on the dynamics of ecological communities and landmark collaborations merging theory with experiment, Levin helped create a framework for studying the ecology and evolution of populations in heterogeneous environments. He is a leader in transforming ecology into a quantitative science with rigorous theoretical foundations.
 Research Interests
My principal interests are in understanding how macroscopic patterns and processes are maintained at the level of ecosystems and the biosphere in terms of ecological and evolutionary mechanisms that operated primarily at the level of organisms. Much of my work is concerned with the evolution of diversification, the mechanisms sustaining biological diversity in natural systems, and the implications for ecosystem structure and functioning. The work integrates empirical studies and mathematical modeling, with emphasis on how to extrapolate across scales of space, time, and organizational complexity. The essential mathematical challenge is the development of macroscopic descriptions for the collective behavior of large, heterogeneous ensembles that are subject to continual evolutionary modifications. Specific attention is directed to evolution and ecology of dispersal. Current systems of study include plant communities and marine open-ocean and intertidal systems. I have also been interested in the self-organization and evolution of strain structure in influenza A. I have also been involved in the conservation implications of the basic ecological work, with emphasis on reserve design and on economic linkages.

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