Mark Vellend is a Professor in the Biology Department at l’Université de Sherbrooke in Québec, Canada, and formerly an Associate/Assistant Professor and Canada Research Chair at the University of British Columbia. His B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees were completed at McGill University, a Ph.D. at Cornell University, and a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis. Research interests center on ecological and evolutionary responses to environmental change, focusing largely on plants as individuals, populations, and communities. He has been a recipient of an E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship, the W.S. Cooper Award from the Ecological Society of America, and the Young Investigator’s Prize from the American Society of Naturalists, among other recognitions, including selection as a Fellow of the Ecological Society of Ameriac. He is author of the 2016 book “The Theory of Ecological Communities” (Princeton Monographs in Population Biology), which has been translated into both Japanese and Chinese. Dr. Vellend has made influential, and at times controversial, contributions to documenting and understanding how biodiversity has changed during recent decades and centuries, and how ecological and evolutionary processes interact to cause such changes.
Kai Zhu is an assistant professor of environmental studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. His research areas are global change ecology, ecological modeling, and environmental data science, with a current focus on plant and soil responses to environmental change. He completed his postdoc at Stanford University and received his PhD in ecology and MS in statistics from Duke University.