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Food Webs in Dynamic Habitats

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Darlingtonia with waspFood webs in dynamic habitats - The concept of a food web is a major organizing principle for ecology. Standard theory considers food webs to be predominantly equilibrial structures (with associated statistical descriptors) in static (unchanging) habitats. Since 1996, I have been working with Nick Gotelli (University of Vermont) on expanding the focus of food web theory to consider non-equilibrium food webs in habitats that change on the same time scale during which food webs assemble. For this work, I have used the the Sarracenia "microecosystem" - the northern pitcher-plant Sarracenia purpurea and the unique food web of bacteria, protozoa, rotifers, mites, and fly larvae that live within its rainwater-filled leaves - as a model system (see reviews in Ellison and Gotelli 2001, and Ellison et al. 2003). This work has been supported by four grants from the U.S. National Science Foundation:

  • Inquiline communities in changeable pitchers: do nutrients link community assembly to dynamic habitats? DEB 98-05722 (9/1/1998-2/28/2003) 

[ Summary | Full proposal | Publications from this award ]

  • Biocomplexity incubation activity: a synthetic approach to phytotelmata communities. DEB 00-83167 (8/1/2000-7/31/2002) 

[ Summary | Full proposal | Publications from this award ]

  • Effects of nutrient stress on a co-evolved food web. DEB 02-35128 (4/1/2003 - 3/31/2007) 

[ Summary | Full proposal | Publications from this award ]

  • Mechanisms of community re-assembly after a catastrophic fire. DEB 03-01361 (12/1/2002-11/31/2004)

[ Summary | Full proposal | Publications from this award