Patricia Lane

BA (Hartwick College)
MA (State University of New York at Binghamton)
PhD (State University of New York at Albany)
Ford Fellow (University of Chicago)
Visiting Professor/Lecturer (Harvard School of Public Health)

  • Teaching & Research
  • Students' Research Topics
  • Graduates' Occupations
  • Publications and Reports
  • Teaching & Research

    y research focuses upon the application of complexity theory to marine food webs using a qualitative network technique, loop analysis.  Current ecological and evolutionary research questions are:

    (1)   Do marine food webs exhibit anticipation, emergence, and self-organization?
    (2)   What are the characteristics of biologically-reasonable food webs and ecological skeletons?
    (3)  How do trophic escalades work, and why are they more prevalent than trophic cascades?
    (4) How do recent developments in in population-level (niche construction) and ecosystem-level     ecology (food web functional dynamics and ecosystem chimeras) and the Biocomplexity Revolution challenge standard evolutionary theory?

         Classes in which Pat currently teaches:

    I presently teach three undergraduate classes.  They are taught from a systems perspective emphasizing inter-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary thinking and analysis. I also periodically teach a graduate module on ecological complexity.

    I hold cross-appointments in the Departments of International Development Studies and Programs in Environmental Science and Marine Affairs.  I have been an EIA practitioner in Canada and abroad on dozens of environmental impact assessments and helped harmonize EIA requirements in Bangladesh, Nicaragua, and elsewhere and in assessing oil developments, electrical-generation facilities, mining operations, transportation projects, national park developments, military activities, industrial facilities, and sewage facilities.

    In 2012, I began coordinating the Environmental Impact Assessment Certificate that is available for undergraduates majoring in Biology, Marine Biology, Earth Sciences, Geography, and Oceanography in the Faculty of Science as well as in International Development Studies in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and sustainability students in the College of Sustainability.

    Examples of Students' Research Topics

    Honours and Graduate Students

    • Leah McConney.  Masters of Marine Management.  Monitoring and Valuation of Canada’s Oceans Act Marine Protected Areas: Recommendations for Governance, Socio-Cultural and Socio-Economic Indicators.
    • Samantha Halloran, Honours Env. Science Program, Opportunities/Challenges of EA under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act  
    • Marie-Michelle Simard.  Honours Marine Biology. Fish Assemblages of Natural, Artificial, and Dynamite-Fished Reefs of Pulau Pom Pom, Borneo, Malaysia.
    • David Foster, Honours Biology/Sustainability, Strategic Environmental Assessment of Changes in Bill C-45 to the Navigable Waters Protection Act and Potential Effects on Environmental Protection in Canada, 2014 
    • Alicia Dixon, Honours Biology, Northwest Atlantic Grey Seal (Halichoerus grypus): What is Their Future?
    • Nathan Grant.  Honours Marine Biology.  An Ecological Risk Analysis of Oil Impacting Atlantic Canada Sea Scallops (Placopecten magellanicus).
    • Emma Wolfe-Parthun. Honours Biology/History.   Examining Duration of Impacts to Tundra Vegetation in the Mackenzie Gas Project: A Case Study on the Role of Science in the EIA Process.
    Some Graduates' Occupations
    • Environmental Manager for the Regional Municipality of Halifax
    • Senior Scientist for the Experimental Lakes, Internat. Instit. of Sustainable Develop.            
    • Manager of a Biotechnology Innovation Program for the Province of Nova Scotia
    • Program Manager for the International Institute of Sustainable Development
    • Environmental Consultants and Managers in private and public sectors
    Selected Publications

    Lane, P. A. (2016). A Cautionary Tale: The Goldilocks’ Effect in Measuring Ecological Complication in Food Webs. Food Webs 8:1-11.

    Lane, P. A. (2017). A Review of the Trophic Cascade Concept Using the Lens of Loop Analysis: “The Truth is the Whole”.  Food Webs, 13, 1-11.

    Lane, P. A. (2017). Assumptions about Trophic Cascades: The Inevitable Collision Between Reductionist Simplicity and Ecological Complexity. Food Webs 13:12-26.

    Lane P. A. (2018). The Road Before Us: Have We Come to a “Fork In The Road” in Defining Complexity? Ecological Complexity. (In Press).

    Lane, P. A. (2018). The Road Ahead for Rosennean Complexity.  Ecological Complexity. (In Press).

    Lane, P. A. (2018). Ecosystems as Chimeras: A Thought Experiment in Rosennean Complexity. Ecological Complexity. (In Press).

    Lane, P. A. (2018). Ecological Skeletons:  Excavating the Bare Bones of Community Structure Using Loop Analysis.  Proceedings of a Festscrift to Honour Professor Richard Levins. at Harvard University:  The Truth is the Whole.  Pumping Station Press. (In Press).

    Lane, P.A. (2018) Special Issue on Rosennean Complexity.  Invited Guest Editor. Ecological Complexity (journal)