Dan Flynn

With van in IMGERS zoom

Dan Flynn

Research Associate, Wolkovich Lab

1300 Centre Street
Boston, MA 02131
Phone: 617.384.5631
Fax: 617.384.6596


PhD Ecology, Evolution, & Environmental Biology (2011), Columbia University

BA Biology (2001), Oberlin College

Research Interests

My work employs trait-based approaches to understand the processes by which species assemble into communities and the consequences for community disassembly, focusing on the applied challenges of biodiversity loss and global change. I have previously focused on the consequences of externally-driven changes to communities for ecosystem-level processes. In particular, I have extended the question beyond what species loss entails for ecosystem functioning to what aspects of diversity matter most for this process, and also to integrate an evolutionary perspective on these processes.

My current focus is on applying the trait based-approaches to plant community ecology to assessing global change scenarios on the Tibetan Plateau of western China. I am interested in the role of phenotypic plasticity as a driver of plant adaptation to predicted changes in temperature and precipitation, and also use long-term experiment data to address how the adaptive capacity of plants will influence the ecosystem functioning of this alpine ecosystem, and am fascinated by the potential for focusing rapid adaptation to understand plant community responses to biotic and abiotic changes.

Representative Publications

  • Jain M*, DFB Flynn*, CM Prager, GM Hart, CM DeVan, FS Ahrestani, MI Palmer, DE Bunker, JMH Knops, CF Jouseau, S Naeem. 2014. The importance of rare species: A trait-based assessment of rare species contributions to functional diversity and possible ecosystem function in tall-grass prairies. Ecology and Evolution 4: 104-112.
  • Reich, PB, D Tilman, F Isbell, K Mueller, SE Hobbie, DFB Flynn, N Eisenhauer. 2012. Impacts of biodiversity loss escalate through time as redundancy fades. Science 336: 589-592.
  • Flynn, DFB, N Mirotchnick, M Jain, MI Palmer, S Naeem. 2011. Functional and phylogenetic diversity as predictors of biodiversity-ecosystem function relationships. Ecology 92: 1573-1581.
  • Flynn, DFB, M Uriarte, T Crk, JB Pascarella, JK Zimmerman, TM Aide, MAC Ortiz. 2010. Hurricane disturbance alters secondary forest recovery in Puerto Rico. Biotropica 42: 149-157.
  • Flynn, DFB, M Gogol-Prokurat, T Nogeire, N Molinari, B Trautman Richers, BB Lin, N Simpson, MM Mayfield, F DeClerck. 2009. Loss of functional diversity under land use intensification across multiple taxa. Ecology Letters 12: 22-33.