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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Department ofVertebrate Zoology

Division of Mammals

Tarsius bancanus
bar Hillary Young
    Hillary S. Young
    Postdoctoral Research Fellow

  • 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

I am interested in understanding how apparently small human perturbations of ecosystems, through species additions and deletions, can cause cascading changes throughout foodwebs. Currently, I am working with Smithsonian’s Kristofer Helgen as well as other collaborators on a project examining the effect of declines in large mammals in Africa. Declines in native large wildlife populations have been a great source concern to ecologists and conservationists for many years. However, we still have a very incomplete understanding of the indirect effects of wildlife reductions and subsequent land-use alteration and particularly how such changes may affect human well-being is a prerequisite to deciding where and how to address this problem. In this new & collaborative project , we are uniting ecology with epidemiology and models of land use change, to explore how loss of large mammals and associated land-use change can trigger an increase in disease risk via indirect trophic effects of defaunation on host communities of small mammals and their ectoparasites.

Recent Publications

Young, H.S., R. Griffin, C.L. Wood, and C.L. Nunn. 2013. Does habitat disturbance increase infectious disease risk for primates?. Eco Lett., Online early 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, Online early doi:10.1007/s00442-012-2542-2

Goheen, J.R., T.M. Palmer, G.K. Charles, S.N. Kinyua, J.E. Maclean, B.L. Turner, 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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