Péter K. Molnár


Assistant Professor

Biological Sciences, UTSc

Email: peter.molnar@utoronto.ca

Office: PO104-110

Research Areas:
Ecology, Epidemiology and Conservation Biology; Ecological Modelling; Physiological Ecology, Population Dynamics, Food Webs; Polar Ecology, Tropical Ecology.


My research focuses on understanding, quantifying and predicting the ecological impacts of climate change, land use change, and other anthropogenic disturbances. Under this general umbrella, I study a diversity of topics, such as the impacts of a melting sea ice habitat on polar bear populations, the impacts of climate change on the prevalence and distribution of parasitic diseases in caribou and muskoxen, and the impacts of forest fragmentation on the likelihood of disease transmission between domestic and wild animals, such as jaguars and pumas, in Costa Rica. In general, my research blends field data collection and the analysis of existing long-term data sets with mathematical modelling to identify and quantify the biological mechanisms by which environmental change affects ecosystems. Common to all of my projects is a focus on conservation biology and an emphasis on applying quantitative models and empirical findings to aid proactive conservation planning.


Selected Publications:

Molnár PK, Derocher AE, Klanjscek T, Lewis MA (2011) Predicting climate change impacts on polar bear litter size. Nature Communications 2: 186 doi: 10.1038/ncomms1183. pdf graphic

Molnár PK, Kutz SJ, Hoar BM, Dobson AP (2013) Metabolic approaches to understanding climate change impacts on seasonal host-macroparasite dynamics. Ecology Letters 16: 9-21.

Molnár PK, Lewis MA, Derocher AE (2014) Estimating Allee dynamics before they can be observed: Polar bears as a case study. PLOS One 9(1): e85410. pdf graphic

Prospective Students:

I will be accepting several graduate students to start in fall 2015 (both M.Sc. and Ph.D. level). Projects will likely focus on climate change impacts in the Arctic, or on land use change impacts in Costa Rica, but there is flexibility to match the student's interests. Projects may be field-based or work with existing data, but will generally always have some modelling component. A proficiency in ecological modelling at the time of application is not a must, but a strong interest in learning and applying quantitative models to ecological and conservation problems is expected. If you are interested in applying, please send me an email to discuss project and funding options.