• Assistant Professor
  • Ecology and Integrative Biology
  • Ph.D. University of California, Davis 2008
  • Department of Biology
  • Temple University

Research in the Sewall Lab centers on conservation biology and population and community ecology. We combine intensive field research with advanced statistical analysis and modeling to understand key drivers of stability in ecological communities, evaluate impacts of important threats to biodiversity, and develop practical conservation strategies for threatened species and ecosystems.

One current project examines diffuse interactions in a seed dispersal/frugivory mutualism in a tropical dry forest in Madagascar. We have documented how species diverge greatly in their importance for their mutualistic partners, with important effects on community structure. Current research examines consequences of such divergences for the dynamics and persistence of forest communities, especially in light of expanding threats from habitat change and overexploitation.

A second project investigates bat population responses to white-nose syndrome, an emerging fungal disease that has caused mass mortality events at bat hibernacula across eastern North America. We have documented severe declines at a regional scale in several bat species over the last decade associated with this disease. We are currently evaluating within-species variation in bat responses to the disease and consequences for the future persistence of these species.

A third project investigates how management actions affect bat and butterfly populations within a military training area. We are using monitoring data to document changes over time in rare and threatened bat and butterfly populations, and to evaluate the roles of prescribed fires, invasive species removal, mechanical thinning, and other management interventions in these changes.

Dr. Sewall's work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, Fish and Wildlife Service, Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veteran's Affairs, and Pennsylvania Game Commission. He has received the American Society of Mammalogists' Hornaday Award for Mammal Conservation, the University of California, Davis' Merton Love Award for Best Dissertation in Ecology and Evolution, and Temple's Caldwell Distinguished Mentoring Award.