Tyler Coverdale Assistant Professor

Community and Evolutionary Ecology in the Anthropocene
Tyler Coverdale

Research Interests:

Understanding how species interactions shape ecosystems has long been a central goal of ecological and evolutionary research. As the world enters the Anthropocene, the nature of these interactions (and their effects on ecosystem patterns and processes) is changing at an unprecedented rate. Research in the Coverdale Lab seeks to understand how species interactions—particularly those between herbivores and plants—are shaped by a rapidly changing world, and how changes in the abundance and diversity of species affects the structure, function, and resilience of the world's ecosystems. Areas of particular interest include the study of plant defenses, positive plant-plant interactions, megaherbivore extinction, and human-wildlife-livestock co-existence. Research in the lab primarily involves a blend of classic community and evolutionary ecology approaches, but past work has also involved chemical and molecular ecology, mathematical modeling, and remote sensing. Ultimately, research in the lab seeks to develop a mechanistic understanding of ecological responses to human impacts in order to contribute to the conservation, preservation, and restoration of the world’s ecosystems.



  • Assistant Professor: Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame, Fall 2023
  • Postdoctoral Fellow: Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, 2021-2023
  • Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University, 2018-2021
  • PhD, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University, 2018
  • ScB, Biology, Brown University, 2010


Selected Publications:

  • Coverdale, TC and AB Davies. Unraveling the relationship between plant diversity and vegetation structural complexity: a review and theoretical framework. 2023. Journal of Ecology 111: 1378-1395.
  • Coverdale, TC and AA Agrawal. Experimental insect suppression causes loss of induced, but not constitutive, resistance in Solanum carolinense. Ecology.e3789.
  • Coverdale, TC, RD O'Connell, MC Hutchinson, A Savagian, TR Kartzinel, TM Palmer, JR Goheen, DJ Augustine, M Sankaran, CE Tarnita, and RM Pringle. Megaherbivores prevent harmful liana infestation in an African savanna. 2021. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 118: e2101676118.
  • Coverdale, TC and AA Agrawal. Evolution of shade tolerance is associated with attenuation of shade avoidance and reduced phenotypic plasticity in North American milkweeds. 2021. American Journal of Botany 108:1705–1715.
  • Coverdale, TC, IJ McGeary, RD O’Connell, TM Palmer, JR Goheen, M Sankaran, DJ Augustine, AT Ford, RM Pringle, and CE Tarnita. 2019. Strong but opposing effects of associational resistance and susceptibility on defense phenotype in an African savanna plant. Oikos 128:1772-1782.
  • Pringle, RM, TR Kartzinel, TM Palmer, TJ Thurman, K Fox-Dobbs, CCY Xu, MC Hutchinson, TC Coverdale, JH Daskin, D Evangelista, K Gotanda, N Man in ‘t Veld, H Wegener, JJ Kolbe, TW Schoener, DA Spiller, JB Losos, and RDH Barrett. 2019. Predator-induced collapse of niche structure and species coexistence. Nature 570:58-63.
  • Coverdale, TC, JR Goheen, TM Palmer, and RM Pringle. Good neighbors make good defenses: associational refuges reduce defense investment in African savanna plants. 2018. Ecology 99: 1724-1736.
  • Tarnita, CE, JA Bonachela, E Sheffer, JA Guyton, TC Coverdale, RA Long and RM Pringle. A theoretical foundation for multi-scale regular vegetation patterns. 2017. Nature 541: 398-401.
  • Coverdale, TC, TR Kartzinel, K Grabowski*, RK Shriver, AA Hassan, JR Goheen, TM Palmer and RM Pringle. Elephants in the understory: opposing direct and indirect effects of consumption and ecosystem engineering. 2016. Ecology 97: 3219-3230.
  • Kartzinel, TR, PA Chen, TC Coverdale, DL Erickson, WJ Kress, ML Kuzmina, DI Rubenstein, W Wang and RM Pringle. DNA metabarcoding illuminates dietary niche partitioning by large African herbivores. 2015. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112: 8019-8024.
  • Bonachela, JA, RM Pringle, E Sheffer, TC Coverdale, JA Guyton, KK Caylor, SA Levin and CE Tarnita. Termite mounds can increase the robustness of dryland ecosystems to climatic change. 2015. Science 347: 651-655.

View all of Publications: https://coverdalelab.weebly.com/publications.html