“I am a keen enthusiast of trees and and the marvelous forest ecosystems they come together and create. My passion is understanding how interactions between physical and biological environments from micro to macro scales shape these ecosystems.”
Whalen’s research centers around spatial and disturbance ecology, with a current focus on the landscape (spatial) epidemiology of emerging infectious diseases in forest ecosystems. He examines how the exotic forest disease sudden oak death is affecting coastal forest landscapes in California. This disease is caused by the microscopic oomycete Phytophthora ramorum, leading him to explore disease-environment relationships across spatial and temporal scales. His current questions are about how understory microclimate, which is regulated by forest stand characteristics as well as broader drivers of climate, influences disease severity and plant community composition.