The maintenance of species diversity in multitrophic communities

Project Overview
Research Core Areas: 
Project Abstract: 
Organisms consume resources and are themselves resources for other species. These species interactions serve as the building blocks for food webs, and they ultimately shape the diversity and stability of the entire community. Yet despite this apparent simplicity, how food webs assemble and the mechanisms that maintain species diversity remain open questions. In this project, I will leverage new insights from coexistence theory and food web theory to determine how aggregations of species interactions in food webs impart stability and invasibility to the system. I will characterize the inquiline invertebrate communities of pitcher plants (Sarracenia purpurea) across spatial and temporal scales, then use these patterns to motivate laboratory experiments and mathematical models that determine why some food web structures are more common, more stable, or more subject to invasion by new species than others. Taken together, this synthesis of pattern and process will shed new light on the processes that modulate species diversity in complex communities.
Investigator Info
Funding agency: 
Postdoc supervisor's start-up funds
Years research project active: 
2019 to 2022