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Joseph B Deas, PhD

Relevant to the federally endangered Pitcher's thistle, I use species demography and remote sensed data to: study spatial and temporal patterns in the suitability of sand dune habitat, the relationships among abiotic and biotic landscape variables that may affect survivorship and spatial distribution, predict long-term viability and extinction risk, and complete a spatial occurrence database.

My current research focus is the completion of a spatial occurrence database for the federally threatened Pitcher's thistle through collaboration with Noel Pavlovic, the principal investigator. In particular, I design and apply habitat models to remote sensed data to determine the amount of potential and suitable sand dune habitat area for each occurrence. For large areas that are vulnerable to coastal erosion, such as those within the Indiana Dunes, I plan to analyze the rates of change in habitat suitability over time and provide a prediction of long-term viability and extinction risk. This requires attention to specific abiotic and biotic environmental variables that may affect the survivorship and spatial distribution of Pitcher's thistle, and the effects of which may be modified by climate change, such as topography, lake levels, wind patterns, associated plant communities, and invasive weevils.