Alexander Singer

Understanding species distributions in space and time is a fundamental task in ecological research. Quantitative models are essential tools to link observed distribution patterns to biotic processes and theory. I apply computer models to explain the spatiotemporal response dynamics of species and communities to environmental change.


My current project in the group of Tord Snäll addresses cross-scale dynamics. We analyse how local population dynamics of the epiphytic Neckera moss (Neckera pennata) impacts on its performance as a metapopulation in changing forest stands. We estimate demographic rates, their interactions and their relation to environmental conditions from repeated observations of moss and host tree distributions using different modelling approaches. From this, we aim at better understanding the link between the local and the metapopulation dynamics, as well as contributing to improved and more detailed metapopulation modelling.

In a second project we develop novel statistical models to parameterise species distribution models. The state-space models combine data from different monitoring schemes that vary in extend, resolution and observation quality. We integrate available data in order to jointly inform many aspects of the modelled species response processes. In power analyses, we identify the types of data required for efficient model calibration and projection. These results provide guidance for the design of survey and experimental studies, both in professional or citizen science schemes. We test our methods on modelling the distribution of the dead wood decomposer fungus Phellinus ferrugineofuscus from combined systematically collected research data and Citizen Science Data reported to, as well as covariates, ranging from detailed field measurements to remote sensing estimates available via the Analysis portal provided by Swedish LifeWatch.

In previous work from 2008 to 2016 at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ and the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research - iDiv in Leipzig (Germany), I have analysed the dynamics of community responses to climate shifting taking into account interspecific interactions, species dispersal traits and local adaptation. From 2005 – 2008, working at the Central Science Labs CSL, York (UK), I have developed and improved models for the spread and emergency control of rabies in multiple vector species. As a PhD student at UFZ, I have analysed the spatiotemporal impact of aggregated predation of Maculinea butterflies on their host ant.

Publikationer i urval

Singer, A., Schweiger, O., Kühn, I., Johst, K. (2018). Constructing a hybrid species distribution model from standard large-scale distribution data. Ecol. Modell. 373, 39–52.

Bennett, J.M., Calosi, P., Clusella-Trullas, S., Martínez, B., Sunday, J., Algar, A.C., Araújo, M.B., Hawkins, B.A., Keith, S., Kühn, I., Rahbek, C., Rodríguez, L., Singer, A., Villalobos, F., Olalla-Tárraga, M.Á., Morales-Castilla, I. (2018). GlobTherm, a global database on thermal tolerances for aquatic and terrestrial organisms. Sci. Data 5, 180022

Singer, A. & Johst, K. (2017). Transience after disturbance: Obligate species recovery dynamics depend on disturbance duration. Theor. Popul. Biol., 115, 81–88

Hawkins, B.A., Leroy, B., Rodríguez, M.Á., Singer, A., Vilela, B., Villalobos, F., et al. (2017). Structural bias in aggregated species-level variables driven by repeated species co-occurrences: a pervasive problem in community and assemblage data. J. Biogeogr., 44, 1199-1211

Karakoç, C., Singer, A., Johst, K., Harms, H. & Chatzinotas, A. (2017). Transient recovery dynamics of a predator–prey system under press and pulse disturbances. BMC Ecol., 17, 13

Singer, A. & Frank, K. (2016). Viability of cyclic populations. Ecology, 97, 3143–3153

Urban, M.C., Bocedi, G., Hendry, A.P., Mihoub, J.-B., Peer, G., Singer, A., et al. (2016). Improving the forecast for biodiversity under climate change. Science, 353, aad8466-aad8466

Singer, A., Johst, K., Banitz, T., Fowler, M.S., Groeneveld, J., Gutiérrez, A.G., et al. (2016). Community dynamics under environmental change: How can next generation mechanistic models improve projections of species distributions? Ecol. Modell., 326, 63–74

Kelle, D., Fechter, D., Singer, A., Pratje, P., Storch, I., (2013): Determining sensitive parameters for the population viability of reintroduced Sumatran orangutans (Pongo abelii) Int. J. Primatol. 34 (2), 423 – 442

Schymanski, S.J., Dormann, C.F., Cabral, J., Chuine, I., Graham, C.H., Hartig, F., Kearney, M., Morin, X., Römermann, C., Schröder, B., Singer, A., (2013): Process, correlation and parameter fitting in species distribution models: a response to Kriticos et al. J. Biogeogr. 40 (3), 612 - 613

Singer, A., Travis, J.M.J., Johst, K., (2013): Interspecific interactions affect species and community responses to climate shifts Oikos 122 (3), 358 – 366

Dormann, C.F., Schymanski, S.J., Cabral, J., Chuine, I., Graham, C., Hartig, F., Kearney, M., Morin, X., Römermann, C., Schröder, B., Singer, A., (2012): Correlation and process in species distribution models: bridging a dichotomy J. Biogeogr. 39 (12), 2119 - 2131

Kissling, W.D., Dormann, C.F., Groeneveld, J., Hickler, T., Kühn, I., McInerny, G.J., Montoya, J.M., Römermann, C., Schiffers, K., Schurr, F.M., Singer, A., Svenning, J.-C., Zimmermann, N.E., O'Hara, R.B., (2012): Towards novel approaches to modelling biotic interactions in multispecies assemblages at large spatial extents J. Biogeogr. 39 (12), 2163 - 2178

Linder, H.P., Bykova, O., Dyke, J., Etienne, R.S., Hickler, T., Kühn, I., Marion, G., Ohlemüller, R., Schymanski, J., Singer, A., (2012): Biotic modifiers, environmental modulation and species distribution models J. Biogeogr. 39 (12), 2179 - 2190

Schurr, F.M., Pagel, J., Cabral, J.S., Groeneveld, J., Bykova, O., O’Hara, R.B., Hartig, F., Kissling, W.D., Linder, H.P., Midgley, G.F., Schröder, B., Singer, A., Zimmermann, N.E., (2012): How to understand species’ niches and range dynamics: a demographic research agenda for biogeography J. Biogeogr. 39 (12), 2146 - 2162

Singer, A. & Smith, G.C., (2012): Emergency rabies control in a community of two high-density hosts BMC Vet. Res. 8:79

Singer, A., Salman, M., Thulke, H.-H., (2011): Reviewing model application to support animal health decision making Prev. Vet. Med. 99 (1), 60 – 67

Carroll, M.J., Singer, A., Smith, G.C., Cowan, D.P., Massei, G., (2010): The use of immunocontraception to improve rabies eradication in urban dog populations Wildl. Res. 37 (8), 676 – 678

Singer, A., Kauhala, K., Holmala, K., Smith, G.C., (2009): Rabies in Northeastern Europe - the threat from invasive raccoon dogs J. Wildl. Dis. 45 (4), 1121 – 1137

Grimm, V., Lorek, H., Finke, J., Koester, F., Malachinski, M., Sonnenschein, M., Moilanen, A., Storch, I., Singer, A., Wissel, C., Frank, K., (2004): META-X: generic software for metapopulation viability analysis Biodivers. Conserv. 13 (1), 165 – 188

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