Director, Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies
Oastler Professor of Population and Community Ecology
Professor Oswald Schmitz has directed the Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies since 2011. He is the Oastler Professor of Population and Community Ecology at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and his research examines the dynamics and structure of terrestrial food webs. His specific focus is on plant-herbivore interactions and how they are shaped by carnivores and soil-nutrient levels, both at the level of herbivore foraging ecology and plant-herbivore population dynamics. He also examines how natural systems are resistant and resilient to natural and human-induced disturbances, and his approach involves developing mathematical theories of species interactions in food webs and testing these theories through field experiments. This work deals with a variety of ecosystems and herbivore species, ranging from moose deer and snowshoe hare in northern Canadian forests to insects in New England old-field ecosystems.