Crystal Ernst is a postdoctoral scholar at Simon Fraser University. A community ecologist with a fondness for beetles, she uses invertebrates to investigate large-scale patterns of biodiversity and the mechanisms behind them. As the lead investigator of the invertebrate component of the 100 Islands Project, Crystal will examine ways that island biogeography characteristics, marine nutrient subsidies, and interactions with other organisms shape the diversity, distribution, abundance and functional ecology of island-dwelling insects, spiders, molluscs and other critters. Invertebrates perform critical functions on coastal islands, from the decomposition of seaweed wrack, to the pollination of endemic plants, to providing important food sources for migratory birds and small mammals. Understanding why some invertebrates exist on certain islands and others don't will provide important insights into island food webs. Crystal comes to Hakai from McGill University in Quebec, where she completed her doctoral research on the functional and taxonomic diversity of terrestrial arthropods across northern Canada, from the boreal forest to high arctic islands. Having developed a passion for studying diversity in rugged, remote landscapes, she is excited to continue her work in this challenging and beautiful coastal system.
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Simon Fraser University