April 28 2010

12:00 LSB 2320

Marcel Holyoak
Dept. of Environmental Science and Policy, UC Davis

"Understanding the roles of traits and environmental drivers in how communities respond to perturbations"


A major contemporary challenge is to understand how ecological communities respond to either rapid environmental change, such as that due to environmental disturbances, or to more slow, progressive change, such as that created by global climate change. In particular ecologists have theorized a great deal about how species interact with environmental changes through their traits, trait combinations including trade-offs among traits, and how individuals and species are influenced by environmental change. I am interested in community-level responses either in species diversity or community composition. Taking an ecological rather than evolutionary view of this problem I will look at spatial and temporal responses to environmental change in three inter-related investigations. Each emphasizes different species' traits or environmental factors. Studies of disturbance emphasize the ability to recover (resilience) and the traits responsible for this, while including strong roles of environmental factors in inducing mortality. Conversely studies of spatial spread into new habitats, as might be promoted by climate change, tend to emphasize the traits of species. I will show data on each of these types of environmental change or perturbation and discuss how we might begin to obtain a more synthetic view of the roles of traits, environmental drivers and their interactions in structuring communities.















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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