Dr Frederik Saltre

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20092019

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Personal profile

Research Biography

I joined Flinders University in the School of Biological Sciences in July 2017 as Research Fellow in Palaeo-ecological Modelling and I am the Coordinator of the Global Ecology Laboratory working with Professor Corey Bradshaw. I am also Associate Investigator in the new ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage.

From 2013 to 2017, I was an ARC Research Associate at the University of Adelaide. Previously, I held a joint one year appointment with the Centre for Bio-Archaeology and Ecology and the School of Advanced Studies (EPHE) as Lecturer at Montpellier (France), and was a Postdoctoral Scholar at the Oregon State University (USA).

I am an ecologist interested in how ecosystems change through space and time. I combine modelling approaches with fossil data and genetic knowledge to inform how human pressure and climate changes modified ecosystem functioning such as distributions and interactions of plants, animals, humans, and environments, from a deep-time perspective. I write about ecology and climate change over time from the Late Pleistocene (~126,000 years ago) to the present day, and how our understanding of the past can help prepare us for the future.

Research Interests

An important part of my research has been to develop new mathematical approaches to highlight mechanisms underlying the patterns of megafauna extinction across various (temporal and spatial) scales to provide relevant insights to reduce future biodiversity losses. I developed an innovative multimodel ensemble hindcasting approach to calculate more accurate estimates of first human colonisation and megafauna extinction from fossil records and provided the definitive demonstration of a lack of a continental climate signal in the megafauna extinction pulse in late-Pleistocene Australia. Because the spatial heterogeneity of climate change, and heterogeneous human pressure could have created regional variation in drivers of extinction, I pushed one step further the methodology for inferring extinction/arrival from fossil records by adapting these methods spatially. I aim to map dates of appearance/extinction of species (e.g. Homo sapiens or Woolly mammoth) from fossils and/or archaeological data only, by combining a population-dynamic model to geostatistical approaches.

I am also highly committed in exploring how ecological processes (e.g., migration, fitness, reproductive success...etc.) and/or paleoclimate stability (and instability) drove the ability of vegetation to track its climate optimum for either a few decades or even several millennia, across local areas or entire continents.I used spatial analyses and point process modelling approaches to build a new generation of species distribution models that simulate plant migration accounting for both dispersal processes and intra-specific competition. By using this new tool, I demonstrated that migration processes, vulnerability to drought and fruit set were key factors controlling the beech's postglacial expansion and potentially responsible for many local extinctions under future climate change.

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