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January 27, 2021

12:00pm Zoom Webinar

Lauren Shoemaker
University of Wyoming

" The Interdependence of Environmental Variability and Species Interactions on Species Coexistence "

Environmental variability and species interactions are two cornerstones of the longstanding effort to understand how species coexist and the mechanisms that maintain biodiversity. Recently it has become evident that these two factors are not independent, but rather that environmental conditions mediate species interactions. In my talk, I present a combination of mathematical models and field experiments that allow us to partition the mechanisms that maintain biodiversity in an inherently variable world. I examine the importance of variability in the timing of rainfall for maintaining grass-forb coexistence in California grasslands, and subsequently discuss theory for how metacommunity dynamics and spatial variability can promote pathogen diversity in disease systems. Finally, I end by integrating modern coexistence theory and food web theory to simultaneously quantify the relative importance of predation, competition, and environmental fluctuations for species coexistence, focusing on dynamics in the rocky intertidal. These results highlight the impact of environmental variability in altering demography and species interactions in manners that tend to stabilize coexistence across ecosystems.

Host: Nathan Kraft