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University of Connecticut Mark Urban
Eco-Evolution in Space

Mark Urban

Associate Professor

Contact Information

Office: 200A Pharmacy Biology Building
Office Phone: 860-486-6113
Lab Phone: 860-486-6154
Fax: 860-486-6364

Professional Positions

2008- Associate Professor University of Connecticut
2006-2008 Postdoctoral Scholar NCEAS


1998 BS Muhlenberg College
2001 MESc Yale University
2006 PhD Yale University

Research Interests

I study the ecological and evolutionary mechanisms that shape natural communities across multiple spatial scales. Across natural landscapes, the local dynamics of community interactions can be shaped both by local conditions and by migration from nearby communities. At the same time, local adaptation and maladaptation due to regional gene flow can alter the outcome of species interactions. My research focuses on this interface between migration-niche-partitioning and migration-selection dynamics in a regional context. This research seeks to answer fundamental questions about how migration and gene flow across heterogeneous landscapes shape local species interactions, patterns of community diversity and structure, the evolutionary divergence of interacting populations, the invasion success of introduced species, and responses of communities to disturbance. Most of my work focuses on aquatic systems, which are ideal systems in which to study these questions because of their patchy distribution across natural landscapes.

I apply a variety of approaches to address these questions, including old-fashioned field work, experiments performed across a variety of scales, and theoretical models ranging in complexity from simple analytical models to complex individual-based simulations. For more specific information, see my Projects page.

Recent Publications

Urban, M. C. 2015. Accelerating extinction risk from climate change. Science. 348:571-573.

Urban, M. C. and J. L. Richardson. 2015. The evolution of foraging rate across local and geographic gradients in predation risk and competition. The American Naturalist.

Norberg, J., M. C. Urban, M. Vellend, C. A. Klausmeier, and N. Loeuille. 2012. Eco-evolutionary responses of biodiversity to climate change. Nature Climate Change.

Zarnetske, P. L., D. K. Skelly, and M. C. Urban. 2012. Biotic multipliers of climate change. Science. 336:1516-1518.

Urban, M. C., J. J. Tewksbury, and K. S. Sheldon. 2012. On a collision course: competition and dispersal differences create no-analogue communities and cause extinctions during climate change. Proceedings of the Royal Society 279: 2072-2080.