May 31 2018

5:00 pm 1100 TLSB

EcoEvoPub Series

Graduate Student Presentations


Ian McFadden
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, UCLA

"What do spatial patterns of species traits tell us about community assembly?"

Environmental filtering and dispersal limitation can maintain diversity in plant communities by functioning alone or together to reduce competition, but parsing the contribution of each process to community assembly has proven difficult empirically. Here I assess the contribution of filtering and dispersal to the spatial aggregation patterns of 456 tree species in a hyperdiverse Amazonian forest and find distinct functional trait correlates of interspecific variation in these processes. As I will show, these results suggest environmental filtering and dispersal limitation act in concert to drive the spatial and functional structure of diverse plant communities.

Elizabeth Reid-Wainscoat
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, UCLA

"Are Scent Cues Individually Specific in the Tasmanian Devil?"

The Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) is a nocturnal carnivorous marsupial that has suffered precipitous decline in the past 20 years due to a contagious fatal cancer. To provide the best management practices to help re-establish wild populations it is crucial to understand the behavioural ecology of this species. Initial studies proved that olfactory communication plays a significant role in their social structure and that despite their classification as a solitary, non-territorial species, scent cues deposited at shared latrine sites are providing import social cues. To better understand the role of these latrine sites, habituation experiments were conducted to measure Tasmanian devils’ ability to discriminate between individual fecal odours. In addition, chemical analysis was conducted on their anal scent gland secretions to identify species specific compounds that signal age, sex, season and individuality. Application of these results can be used to further conservation efforts for this endangered species and inform management strategies for other carnivore restoration efforts.




































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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