Dr. Gui Becker and colleagues awarded $12M NSF Biology Integration Institute award

Paramount to predicting the future of biodiversity is knowing when and how living systems are resilient to (i.e., can recover from) anthropogenic disturbances. The focus of this Biology Integration Institute is to understand resilience to a key global threat: emerging infectious diseases. The team will develop a new framework to measure resilience across multiple scales, stressors, and diverse biological systems, and apply it to a case study involving a fungal disease linked to global amphibian declines. Building on past research in four complementary systems, the team will address four questions: (1) How does the history of disturbance differ across systems? (2) How have changes at different levels of biological organization shaped overall system responses? (3) What are the mechanisms contributing to resilience and are they shared across systems? (4) How is resilience modulated by multiple interacting stressors? The framework and findings will be applicable to hundreds of amphibian species facing disease-related stressors and for more broadly understanding the resilience of biological systems to myriad global change threats. The Institute’s training activities will reach high school through postdoctoral scholars using authentic biology research experiences that foster cross-disciplinary understanding, serve large numbers of students with a focus on underrepresented groups, and promote persistence in STEM. Outreach activities will reach students, teachers, members of the public, and wildlife managers with messages about biodiversity, resilience, and global change. Together, the institute’s activities will showcase the power of an integrative, team science approach for addressing some of the biggest and most challenging questions in biology.

Learn more about this work here.