I am a community ecologist with broad research
interests, including species coexistence, the ecology and evolution of
mutualisms, and the role of ecosystem engineers in structuring
rangeland communities. Most of my work is conducted in East Africa,
although I have also worked in alpine streams, meadows and prairies of
the western U.S. My current projects include 1) long-term studies of
species coexistence in a guild of African acacia ants, 2) costs,
benefits and conditionality within a multi-species ant-plant mutualism,
3) a large-scale exclosure project examining the influence of different
guilds of large African mammals on biodiversity and productivity within
semi-arid rangelands, and 4) the role of termites in structuring
African savannas and bushlands. These projects are funded by the
National Science Foundation. More detail on these projects can be found
on my personal site.
Palmer, T. M., D. F. Doak, M. L. Stanton, T. P. Young, J. L. Bronstein, J. R. Goheen and R. M. Pringle. 2010. The joy of sets: synergy of multiple partners increases fitness in an ant-plant mutualism. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 107:17234-17239.
Kiers, E. T., T. M. Palmer, A. R. Ives, J. Bruno, and J. L. Bronstein. 2010. Mutualisms in a changing world: an evolutionary perspective. Ecology Letters. 13:1459-1474.
Goheen, J. R. and T. M. Palmer. 2010. Defensive plant-ants stabilize megaherbivore-driven landscape change in an African savanna. Current Biology 20:1768-1772. [*both authors contributed equally to this paper]
Pringle, R. M., D. F. Doak, A. K. Brody, R. Joque and T. M. Palmer. 2010. Spatial pattern enhances ecosystem function. PLoS Biology 8:1000377.
Palmer, T. M., M. L. Stanton, T. P. Young, J. R. Goheen, R. Pringle and R. Karban. 2008. Breakdown of an ant-plant mutualism follows the loss of large herbivores from an African savanna. Science 319:192-195
Palmer, T. M. and A. K. Brody. 2007. Mutualism as reciprocal exploitation: African plant-ants defend foliar but not reproductive structures. Ecology 3004-3011.
Palmer, T. M. 2003. Spatial habitat heterogeneity influences competition and coexistence in an African acacia ant guild. Ecology 84: 2843-2855.
Palmer, T. M., M. L. Stanton, and T. P. Young. 2003. Competition and coexistence: exploring mechanisms that restrict and maintain diversity within mutualist guilds. American Naturalist 162: S63-79.
Young, T. P., T. M. Palmer and M. E. Gadd. 2005. Competition and compensation among cattle, zebras, and elephants in a semi-arid range land in Laikipia, Kenya. Biological Conservation 122: 351-359.