Population and Community Ecology, Applied Ecology, Consumer-resource Interactions, Marine Invertebrates and Reef Fishes


Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles


The objective of Schmitt's research is to understand general processes and mechanisms that influence (1) abundance and dynamics of populations and (2) species composition and diversity of communities. He makes an extensive use of field experiments and observations to explore such fundamental issues as consumer - resource interactions (e.g., predator-prey, exploitation competition, apparent competition), population dynamics and regulation, and bio-diversity and coexistence of competitors. All of his work has been conducted in subtidal reef environments of temperate and tropical marine ecosystems using both benthic invertebrates and reef fishes as model systems. Because many marine organisms have dispersing life stages (and therefore can have local populations that are demographically open), reef systems provide the opportunity to explore issues related to scale dependency and to the causes and consequences of variation in the contributions of different processes to abundance, dynamics and regulation. In addition to his fundamental research, he is interested in the application of ecological principles to the resolution of coastal marine environmental problems. This perspective includes the development and application of techniques to estimate the effect size of ecological impacts and to ameliorate those impacts through scientifically rigorous restoration and conservation approaches.