Meet DEB: Betsy Von Holle, PCE Program Officer

Basic Profile

Name: Betsy Von Holle

PCE Program Officer Betsy Von Holle.

PCE Program Officer Betsy Von Holle.

Education: PhD

Home Institution: University of Central Florida

NSF Experience/History: I started serving as a rotator in May of 2013 and, prior to that, I had been reviewing NSF grants for ten years and served as a panelist for two years.

Research Experience/History: The focal research theme of my lab is characterizing and predicting species responses to global change at the community and landscape scales. I employ multi-scale techniques, where I determine landscape-level influences on species demography and further investigate these influential factors with patch-scale community manipulations and experiments.

Competitions I currently work on: Population and Community Ecology (PCE) cluster panels and the Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grants.

Q & A

What are your study system(s) and area(s) of expertise?

I primarily work in coastal ecosystems, ranging from heathlands in low-nutrient, dry soils of New England to former agricultural fields in coastal Florida.

My current research interests span four related themes within global change ecology:

1. Characterizing species responses to climate change,

2. Predicting climatically-induced range expansion,

3. Ecological restoration and global change mitigation, and

4. Economic impacts and policy implications of global change mitigation.

One thing you wished more people understood about your field and why:

When people think about how species are going to respond to climate change, they envision species adapting to weather getting incrementally warmer. However, in some parts of the world, including where I work in Florida, it is warming on an annual basis, however in the winter and spring it’s actually getting colder. Florida is experiencing  more variable weather and greater freezes over time. Plant species are responding strongly to these extreme ups and downs in temperature and this may be something we need to monitor in order to understand what is going to happen to the biological communities around us over time.

Recount a formative educational experience:

I decided to become an ecologist while on an undergraduate Education Abroad program in Costa Rica. I was conducting field work in some amazing natural area reserves with fabulous species diversity and decided this was really what I wanted to do for my career.

What would someone find you doing in your down time?

Wandering around local natural areas and parks with husband, David, and my 4-year-old son.

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