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Department ofVertebrate Zoology

Division of Mammals

Tarsius bancanus
bar Hillary Young
    Hillary S. Young
    Research Associate

  • Phone: (202)633-1270
  • Fax: (202)633-0182
  • E-mail: younghs[at]

  • Mailing Address:
    Smithsonian Institution
    PO Box 37012, MRC 108
    Washington, DC 20013-7012

  • Shipping Address:
    Smithsonian Institution
    National Museum of Natural History
    1000 Constitution Ave, NW
    Washington, DC 20004

Related Links

Hillary's personal website
National Geographic Society press coverage
National Public Radio press coverage
New York Times press coverage
Stanford press coverage (coconuts and ecosystem connectivity)
Stanford press coverage (reef defaunation)
Students involved in my work
Research in the Line Islands
Mpala research station
Palmyra research station


Ph.D. (Biological Sciences): Stanford University, 2010
M.E.M. (Environmental Management): Yale University, 2004
B.A. (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology): Princeton University, 2001

Research Interests

My work focuses on understanding the effects of changes in biodiversity loss on population and community structure and function. My recent work, and many of my ongoing collaborations with researchers at Smithsonian Institution, focuses on understanding the cascading effects of human disturbance and biodiversity loss on both human and wildlife health in East Africa. My work relies heavily on museum collections, both as a way to ensure accurate identification of species associations in complex host parasite networks, and as a window into past structure and ecology of these African communities.

Recent Publications

Dirzo, R., H.S. Young, M. Galletti, G. Ceballos, N. Isaac, and B. Collen. In press. Defaunation in the Anthropocene. Science.

McCauley, D.J., H.S. Young, R. Guevara, E. Power, R.B. Dunbar, D. Bird, W. Durham, G.J. Williams, and F. Micheli. In press. Positive and negative effects of a threatened parrotfish on reef ecosystems. Conservation Biology.

McCauley, D.J., P.A. DeSalles, H.S. Young, Y.P. Papastamatiou, M.H. Deakos, J.P. Gardner, and F. Micheli. In press. Reliance of mobile species on sensitive habitats: a case study of manta rays (Manta alfredi) and lagoons. Marine Biology.

Young, H.S., R. Dirzo, K.M. Helgen, D.J. McCauley, S. Billeter, M. Kosoy, L. Osikowicz, D.J. Salkeld, T.P. Young, and K. Dittmar. 2014. Declines in large wildlife increase landscape-level prevalence of a rodent-borne disease in Africa. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, 111(19):7036-7041.

Young, H.S., D.J. McCauley, A. Pollock, and R. Drizo. 2014. Differential plant damage due to litterfall in palm-dominated forest stands in a Central Pacific atoll. Journal of Tropical Ecology, doi:

McCauley, D.J., E. Power, H.S. Young, A. McInturff, R.B. Dunbar, D. Bird, W. Durham and F. Micheli. 2014. Pushing back at paper-park pushers. Biological Conservation, 72:223.

Wood, C.L., K.D. Lafferty, G. DeLeo, H.S. Young, A.M. Kuris. 2014. Does biodiversity protect against infectious disease? Ecology, 95(4):817-832.

Young, H.S., D.J. McCauley, K.M. Helgen, J.R. Goheen, E.O. Castillo, T.M. Palmer, R.M. Pringle, T.P. Young, and R. Dirzo. 2013. Effects of mammalian herbivore declines on plant communities: Observations and experiments in an African savanna. Journal of Ecology, 101:1030-1041.

Young, H.S., D.J. McCauley, R.B. Dunbar, M.S. Hutson, A. Miller-ter Kuile, and R. Dirzo. 2013. The roles of productivity and ecosystem size in determining food-chain length in tropical terrestrial ecosystems. Ecology, 94:692-701.

McCauley, D.J., E. Power, H.S. Young, A. McInturff, R.B. Dunbar, D. Bird, W. Durham and F. Micheli. 2013. Conservation at the edges of the world. Biological Conservation, 165:139-145.

Young, H.S., R. Griffin, C.L. Wood, and C.L. Nunn. 2013. Does habitat disturbance increase infectious disease risk for primates?. Ecology Letters, 16(5):656-663. doi: 10.1111/ele.12094

Young, H.S., D.J. McCauley, R. Guevara, and R. Dirzo. 2013. Density-dependent seed and seedling predation effects on plant diversity depend on scale. Oecologia, doi:10.1007/s00442-012-2542-2

Goheen, J.R., T.M. Palmer, G.K. Charles, K.M. Helgen, S.N. Kinyua, J.E. Maclean, H.S. Young, and R.M. Pringle. 2013. Piecewise disassembly of a large-herbivore community acrosss a rainfall gradient: the UHURU experiment. PLoS ONE, 8(2):e55192. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0055192

Young, H.S. 2012. Sense, if not sensibility (book review). Science, 337: 913.

Briggs, A.A., H.S. Young, S. Hathaway, D.J. McCauley, R. Dirzo and R. Fischer. 2012. Effects of spatial subsidies and habitat structure on abundance and ecology of two congeneric gecko species. PLoS ONE, 7(8): e41364. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0041364

McCauley, D.J., E. Hoffmann, H.S. Young, and F. Micheli. 2012. Night shift: Expansion of temporal niche use following reductions in predator density. PLoS ONE, 7(6): e38871. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0038871 [pdf]

McCauley, D.J., P.A. DeSalles, H.S. Young, R.B. Dunbar, R. Dirzo, M.M. Mills, and F. Micheli. 2012. From wing to wing: the persistence of long ecological interaction chains in less-disturbed ecosytems. Nature Scientific Reports, 2: 409. doi: 10.1038/srep00409 [pdf]

McCauley, D.J., K.A. McLean, J. Bauer, H.S. Young, and F. MIcheli. 2012. Evaluating the performance of methods for estimating the abundance of rapidly declining coastal shark populations. Ecological Appications, 22(2): 385-392. [pdf]

Dirzo, R., H.S. Young, H. Mooney, and G. Ceballos, eds. 2011. Seasonally Dry Tropical Forests: Ecology and Conservation. Island Press.

Young, H.S., D.J. McCauley, and R. Dirzo. 2011. Differential responses to guano fertilization among tropical tree species with varying functional traits. American Journal of Botany, 98(2): 1-8. [pdf]

Young, H.S., L. Hurrrey, G. Kolb, and W.B. Anderson. 2011. Effects of seabird derived subsidies on aquatic ecosystems. In: C.P. Mulder, W.P. Anderson, D. Towns, and P. Bellingham (eds.), Seabird Islands: Ecology, Invasion and Restoration. Oxford University Press.

Kolb, G., H.S. Young, H. Jones, T. Fukami, J.L.Orrock, D. Towns, and L. Yang. 2011. Effects of seabirds on island consumers. In: C.P. Mulder, W.P. Anderson, D. Towns, and P. Bellingham (eds.), Seabird Islands: Ecology, Invasion and Restoration. Oxford University Press.

Mulder, C.P., H. Jones, K. Kameda, C. Palmborg, S. Schmidt, J. Ellis, J.L. Orrock, A. Wait, D.A. Wardle, L. Yang, H.S. Young, D. Croll, and E. Vidal. 2011. Impacts of seabirds on plant and soil properties. In: C.P. Mulder, W.P. Anderson, D. Towns, and P. Bellingham (eds.), Seabird Islands: Ecology, Invasion and Restoration. Oxford University Press.

McCauley, D.J., F. Micheli, H.S. Young, D.P. Tittensor, D.R. Brumbaugh, E.M.P. Madin, K.E. Holmes, J.E. Smith, H.K. Lotze, P.A. DeSalles, S.N. Arnold, and B. Worm. 2010. Acute effects of removing large fish from a near-pristine coral reef. Marine Biology, 12: 2739-2750. [pdf]

Young, H.S., T.K. Raab, D.J. McCauley, A.A. Briggs, and R. Dirzo. 2010. The coconut palm, Cocos nucifera, impacts forest composition and soil characteristics at Palmyra Atoll, Central Pacific. Journal of Vegetation Science, 21: 1058-1068. [pdf]

Young, H.S., D.J. McCauley, R. Dirzo, R.B. Dunbar, and S.A. Shaffer. 2010. Niche partitioning among and within sympatric tropical seabirds revealed by stable isotope analysis. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 416: 285-294. [pdf]

Young, H.S., D.J. McCauley, R. B. Dunbar, and R. Dirzo. 2010. Plants cause ecosystem nutrient depletion via the interruption of bird-derived spatial subsidies. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107: 2072-2077. [pdf]

Young, H.S., S.A. Shaffer, D.J. McCauley, D.G. Foley, R. Dirzo, and B.A. Block. 2010. Resource partitioning by species but not sex in sympatric boobies in the central Pacific Ocean. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 403: 291-301. [pdf]

Pasari, J., P. Selmants, H.S. Young, J. O’Leary, and E. Zavaleta. 2010. Nitrogen enrichment. In: D. Simberloff and M. Rejmanek (eds.), Encyclopedia of Invasive Introduced Species. University of California Press, pp. 488-492.

McCauley, D.J., Y.P. Papastamatiou, and H.S. Young. 2010. An observation of mating in free-ranging blacktip reef sharks, Carcharhinus melanopterus. Pacific Science, 64: 349-352. [pdf]

Young, H.S., and R. Adams.  2008. Small mammals at Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve. In: N. Chiairello (ed.), Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve State of the Preserve Assessment. Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve, Stanford University.

A PDF of my CV can be found here

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