June 10 2015

12:00 LSB 2320

Amy Wolf
Columbia University, Department of EEEB and UCLA IoES

Species interactions influence plant trait plasticity, community dynamics, and ecosystem function


Species extinction, extirpation, and invasion, often mediated by humans, are causing huge changes in community composition worldwide. With this redistribution of diversity comes not just changes in species lists, but also changes in the interactions species have with other members of a community. In this talk, I will examine the mechanisms by which interactions with other species influence how plant traits are expressed, how nutrients and water are accessed and used, and how communities and ecosystems function. Highlighting a multi-species ant-plant mutualism in Kenya, I describe how differences in the tightly coupled relationship between host plant and its ant inhabitants lead to coherent changes in suites of traits expressed by the host plant, and how this influences ecosystem resilience to increasing climate variability. Following on results from that work, I then describe an experiment manipulating species diversity in California grasslands, and integrating diversity effects on multiple ecosystem functions to examine the effects of community change on the timing of flowering.















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































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