Jordana Morgan Meyer
As a Ph.D. candidate on the Ecology and Evolution track, my thesis focuses on understanding how ecological networks are rewiring in the Anthropocene. Starting local at the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve, I have been exploring noninvasive DNA metabarcoding methods to capture the biodiversity of the area, identifying key species, and construct an ecological network (food web) to reveal patterns of trophic interactions and community structure, allowing for predictive impacts of shifting community dynamics. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, I scaled this model to study how the hybridization of one of the largest ecosystem engineers, the Savanna - Forest elephant, is impacting the ecological network through assessing diet and habitat use, the health of individuals (microbiome, parasites & stress), and the ecological structure of Garamba National Park. Hybridization can result in novel ecological interactions, which in turn can trigger a cascade of processes with ecological and evolutionary outcomes. I am working in collaboration with African Parks, an NGO working across 11 countries and 16 parks in Africa, to address these questions. My long-term research goals focus on improving rewilding efforts and landscape-scale ecosystem services by applying conservation genomic techniques and network theory.
Before joining the Hadly Lab, I worked as a behavioral endocrinologist focusing on the reproductive success and management of the African elephant and the black rhino in Southern Africa. I co-founded Wildtrax Explorations, a suite of programs offering educational opportunities in Africa to help train the next generation of conservationists.