The Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department has been working hard and monitoring, as well as planning, for COVID-19/Coronavirus and the safety of the UCLA community. We understand that we live in very uncertain times and, with news about the virus changing rapidly, it is hard to digest everything we are reading and hearing from all of the different news outlets. Please know the department is committed to working in everyone’s best interest—students, faculty, staff, and community at large.

We have been mandated by the Chancellor’s Office that there be no hosting of any in-person event/gathering/meeting, of any size, during the duration of Spring quarter 2020. With this, all departmental seminars are canceled for the quarter. We are looking to reschedule speakers in the upcoming academic year. We appreciate your understanding at this time.

February 25, 2020

12:00pm The Hershey Hall Grand Salon, Room 158, Hershey Hall

Bénédicte Bachelot
Department of Biological Sciences, Rice University

" Species Interactions, Coexistence, and Disturbances "

How so many species, utilizing the same resources, are able to coexist in a given community remain a key challenge of ecology. Studies have traditionally focused on one type of species interaction when trying to elucidate this question. Yet, several species interactions are happening simultaneously to shape communities. How do different species interactions together promote species coexistence? How do disturbances influence these interactions? To address these questions, I expand upon a well- known theory of negative density dependence by incorporating the effects of mutualism in diverse tropical rainforests. Combining both theory and empirical data, I investigate the roles played by plant natural enemies (agents of negative density dependence) and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (ubiquitous mutualist fungi) in promoting tropical tree coexistence. My recent and future work embrace the fact that the world is changing and investigate how climate and disturbances affect species interactions in ways that could promote or disrupt plant species coexistence. Overall my work illustrates the importance of embracing the complexity of communities, rather than focusing on a singular species interaction, and demonstrates the value of combining theory and empirical data.