how spatially explicit climate,
topography, and vegetation interact with ectotherm and
endotherm morphology, physiology and behavior, disease.
how low level contaminant/pesticide mixtures affect potential for survival,
growth, reproduction and how that affects population dynamics, community structure
and food web structure in time and space.
how low-level contaminant/pesticide mixtures at environmentally relevant concentrations
affect/alter developmental processes, neurological function (learning abilities
and aggression levels), immune function, and endocrine function.
the process of infection and the biochemical responses to bacterial and viral
This past year has been an exceptional one for our lab in all three
areas of our research.
Modeling Animal Landscapes:
We have 15 major papers published, accepted or in press in this area of our research in 2009. These papers collectively document our ability to calculate using our patented trait based mechanistic models (Niche Mapper™) past, present and future distributions, rates of invasion, migration times, habitat use, movement patterns and climate change impacts on capacity to reproduce and survive as a species for representative amphibians, reptiles, diving cormorant energetics and behavior from Green Bay, Wisconsin to the Mississippi Delta, the full-size range of Australian lizards, two small pelagic seabirds in the North Atlantic, a review on mechanistic niche modeling, a review on Macro- ecology; a conceptual reunification, and in the case of the dengue fever mosquito, /Aedes aegypti/, in Australia the capacity for evolution of the mosquito to evolve in the context of climate change. The second PNAS paper resolves a long standing dispute over what slope the mouse-to-elephant metabolic rate as a function of body size really is. A paper on the first mechanistic link between butterfly phenology changes and anthropogenic climate change just came out and for the second time this year our work made Nature’s or Science’s research highlights. I am the founder of an off campus company, ANIMAPS.US, to make Niche Mapper™ commercially available.
Subtle Biological Effects of Environmental Contaminants:
We have 2 papers published, one in review in this area of our research into 2009. The papers describe and test 1) insecticide immune suppression in birds enhancing their vulnerability to West Nile virus. 2) a common pesticide in fruits and vegetables that shows up in children's urine that can alter learning abilities in female but not male mice at similar concentrations. 3) a common herbicide/fertilizer combination in surface and ground waters that suppresses learning abilities at environmentally relevant concentrations in mice.
Early detection of infectious disease:
We have 1 new paper published and one in review in this area of our research this year. The first paper demonstrates our ability to detect onset of infection by our patented no doping stable isotope breath technology within two hours of the administration of the infection. Our new state-of-the-art technologies can detect isotopic ratio changes in breath due to catabolic events from a single sample or on a continuous, noninvasive flow-through basis. This will have immense benefits in intensive care and neonatal premature infants units and many other applications. The second paper with Dr. Fariba Assadi-Porter as lead author documents our ability to define, using a suite of patented biomarkers, the /stages/ of an infectious process and our ability to compensate for inter-individual variation in response. None of this has ever been done before. We have one patent and three new patent applications pending or in process covering our research discoveries. I am a founder of an off-campus company, Isomark, LLC, that may license and develop commercial applications as it sees fit. However, all fundamental research is done exclusively through our research group and patented through WARF.
I look for high intelligence, independence, creativity, and
imagination in my students. I also look for broad interests,
someone who likes personal challenges, and a synthetic
capacity. Opportunities in my lab are largely limited by time and the
student's capacity to learn. We do interdisciplinary research
and collaborate with faculty in engineering sciences, global climate
and vegetation modeling, medical and veterinary sciences, and the
Graduate students currently supervised:
Megan Fitzpatrick, - Predicting Potential Habitat of the Endangered Whooping Crane (Grus americana) through Mechanistic Modeling. email@example.com
Julia Haviland -Impact of common low-level environmental contaminants on neurological, endocrine, immune, DNA methylation, metabolome phase portrait shifts and developmental processes in mice. firstname.lastname@example.org
Lucas Moyer-Horner - Present and past landscape ecology, energetics, behavior and distribution limits of yellow bellied marmots and pikas in western United States. Lrmoyerh@wisc.edu
Paul Mathewson – Mechanistic calculations of the energetics, behavior and habitat utilization of polar bears in modern and future climate scenarios. email@example.com
Javier Velasco - Toxicity of plasticizers, PAH’s and other toxicants due to plastic ingestion in Leatherback Sea Turtles.** firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeremiah Yahn, - Landscape scale climate, topographic and morphological variation impacts on frog energetics, behavior and distributions from temperate to Arctic regions. email@example.com
Students supervised who've recently earned graduate degrees:
Mark Jankowski, Ph.D.
Environmental toxicology, immune suppression and infectious disease.
Joe Meisel, Ph.D. 2004
How habitat fragmentation interacts with climate to
affect distribution of insects and their avian predators in the tropics of
Auston M. Kilpatrick, Ph.D.
Aspects of community ecology, including: mechanisms
generating patterns of mammalian diversity, spatial and temporal variation
in competitive interactions, and the coevolution of avian malaria and native
and introduced Hawaiian birds. (Abstract)
Maria Fernanda Cavieres Fernandez, Ph.D.
Reproductive and developmental toxicity of a commercial
herbicide formulation in mice, (Abstract)
Christopher R. Tracy, PhD
Pattern and theory of geographic variation in physiology
and body size in Sauromalus obesus. (Abstract)
Elizabeth Sutherland, MS
Dispersion of Timber wolves in north central Wisconsin
Dudley, P., R. Bonazza, and W. Porter. 2013. Consider a Non-Spherical Elephant: Computational Fluid Dynamics Simulations of Heat Transfer Coefficients and
Drag Verified Using Wind Tunnel Experiments. Journal of Integrative Biology. 9999AL:1-9.
Bartelt, P. E., R.W Klaver. and W. P. Porter. 2010. Modeling amphibian energetics, habitat suitability, and movements of western
toads, Anaxyrus (=Bufo) boreas, across present and future landscapes. Ecological Modelling 221 (2010):2675–2686.
Haviland JA, D.E. Butz and W.P. Porter. 2009. Long-term sex selective hormonal and behavior alterations in mice exposed to low doses of chlorpyrifos in utero. Reprod Toxicol (2009), doi:10.1016/j.reprotox.2009.10.008
Porter, W.P. and M.R. Kearney. 2009. Size, shape and the thermal niche of endotherms. PNAS 106 (Suppl. 2) 19666–19672. (with appendix & supplementary material)
Natori, Y. and W.P. Porter. 2006. Habitat Evaluation for the Japanese Serow (Capricornis crispus) by Energetics Landscape Modeling. Ecol. Applications. Ecological Applications, 17(5), 2007, pp. 1441–1459.
Kilpatrick, A.M, W.A. Mitchell, W.P. Porter, and D.J. Currie. 2006. Testing a mechanistic explanation for the latitudinal gradient
in mammalian species diversity. Evol. Ecol. Res. 8(2):333-344.
Cavieres M.F., J. Jaeger, W. P. Porter. 2002. Developmental toxicity of a commercial herbicide mixture in mice. I. Effects on embryo implantation and litter size. Environmental Health Perspectives 110:1081-1085
Mitchell, W. A. and W. P. Porter. 2001. Foraging games and species diversity. Annales Zoologici. 38 (1): 89-98.
Porter, W.P., J. Jaeger and I. Carlson. 1999. (Part 1) (Part 2) Endocrine, immune and behavioral effects of aldicarb (carbamate), atrazine (triazine) and nitrate (fertilizer) mixtures at groundwater concentrations. Toxicology and Industrial Health. 15 (1-2): 133-150.
Porter, W.P. and K. Paris. 1998. Creating a strategic plan and implementing quality management techniques in an academic department. Office of Quality Improvement publication U. Wis., Madison.
Niche Mapper™ is a patented collection of three mechanistic models that include a broadly applicable microclimate, ectotherm and endotherm model of heat and mass transfer and animal behavior. The microclimate model allows the translation of coarse spatial data, such as digital elevation models (DEMs), vegetation data, weather station data and spatially interpolated climate records, into microclimatic environmental variables relevant to the thermal and hydric ecology of organisms. These variables include air temperature, humidity and wind speed gradients above ground, soil thermal profiles and solar and thermal infrared radiation environments.
The ectotherm and endotherm models can use the output of the microclimate model, or user-collected data, to solve energy and mass balances for organisms contingent on the morphological, physiological and behavioral traits entered by the user. /Mass and heat balances are coupled, i.e. the heat balance specifies the mass flows that must occur through the gut and the respiratory system to sustain calculated metabolic/water loss rates that are dependent on the animal and local environmental properties./ The basic outputs include body temperature, metabolic rate and water loss rate in hourly time steps. These can be translated into functions of activity, dispersal, survival, growth and reproduction potential, landscape utilization patterns and distribution limits, as well as selection strengths in the context of spatial evolutionary studies.
The ectotherm model can also be used to simulate inanimate objects, such as ponds or water containers if the user chooses. Steady-state and transient (large thermal mass) scenarios can be run, and behavioral code is available for a range of organism behaviors (e.g. fossorial, arboreal, terrestrial, flying, diving, hibernating), although some ‘tweaking’ of the behavioral subroutines may be necessary for your organism. /The user may choose from an assortment of default geometries or may define their own set of geometries for the head, neck, torso, front legs and back legs.
The programs are Fortran executables. When used for landscape scale calculations, rather than point simulations, /there is a Perl program to communicate with MySQL databases for input and output and to call the Fortran executables. There is a set of user Niche Mapper™ instructions that is available as well as instructions for the use of MySQL to set up the databases and for Perl to interface the databases and the Fortran executable codes.
This site is under construction and we are working on developing more user friendly interfaces and a detailed manual. At this stage, please contact me via email for information about, and access to, the programs.