I am Julia Heinen, a PhD fellow in Island Macroecology at the Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate (CMEC) at the University of Copenhagen. In 2019 & 2020 I will serve as Student-at-Large on the board of the International Biogeography Society (IBS).
I am fascinated by islands and how extinctions of species have influenced the interactions within their communities. For instance, the dispersal of seeds by animals that eat fruit is important for many plants. But the loss of many large fruit-eaters has left large-seeded plants without dispersers, consequently increasing their chances to go extinct as well. During my PhD in Island Macroecology I would like to combine the investigation of large scale patterns on islands across the world with community-level patterns, in the Mascarenes. Mauritius is famous for extinct species such as the Dodo and giant tortoises, but at the community level the consequences of those extinctions are not clear yet. Hopefully, better insight into community assembly and loss of species on islands can help prevent extinctions in the future.