April 5 2018

5:00 pm LSB 2320

EcoEvoPub Series

Graduate Student Presentations


Gaurav Kandlikar
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, UCLA

"How resource competition and plant-microbe interactions can interact to influence plant species coexistence"

Ecologists have long understood that resource partitioning between species can reduce interspecific competition and promote coexistence. However, recent experimental and observational studies in plant communities have highlighted the potential for interactions between plants and soil microbial communities ("plant-soil feedbacks", or PSFs) to influence the outcome of species competition and community dynamics. As it is now clear that plant species coexistence can be influenced by both resource dynamics and PSFs, there is a growing need for a theoretical framework that explicitly models the outcome of competition as a joint consequence of plant interactions with resources and soil microbes. In this talk I will present my proposed work to adapt the competition-predation coexistence framework of Chesson and Kuang (2008) to explicitly model how interactions between plant species, microbial communities, and resources contribute to plant species coexistence. Incorporating PSF dynamics into the modern coexistence framework will be critical to predicting the relative importance of the feedbacks in natural communities.

Dana Williams
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, UCLA

"The Influence of the Social and Ecological Environment on the Development of Cognitive Abilities"

Some cognitive abilities facilitate a flexible response to environment changes and allow animals to increase their efficiency at fitness-enhancing tasks such as foraging. Although research on cognition spans the spectrum of life, not every species or individual has equal cognitive abilities. This variation in cognition both between species and between individuals has been explained by factors such as social complexity, ecological complexity, personality, motivation and a variety of other internal and external variables. However, there are no simple patterns across species in the importance of these factors. In my dissertation, I will examine the influence of two commonly tested factors, social and ecological complexity, on cognitive abilities across different scales of life that include both broadly comparative, evolutionary questions and focused studies seeking to explain intraspecific variation.




































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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