Aquatic Food Web Ecology Lab, Dalhousie University

Research in the Aquatic Food Web Ecology Lab based at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, focuses on the consequences of biodiversity loss to the functioning and stability of aquatic food webs. All of our work is done in a food web context, which means that its not just the numbers of species that we are interested in, but also the structure of the food webs in which those species are embedded. Most of our work is done in aquatic microcosms, small container ecosystems in which we can assemble food webs and then subject them to various types of disturbance regimes . We also use mathematical models to run "in silico" experiments, otherwise known as computer simulations, to study problems that are too complex or just not possible to conduct in natural systems.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Devious strategies and disturbance

How do ecological communities respond to increasing disturbance? A recent paper published by us in PlosOne suggests that as the severity of a disturbance increases, functional groups begin to respond differently.....although the importance of having high functional group diversity to maintaining stability is conserved across all levels of environmental stress.

Romanuk TN, Vogt RJ, Young A, Tuck C, Carscallen MW (2010) Maintenance of Positive Diversity-Stability Relations along a Gradient of Environmental Stress. PLoS ONE 5(4): e10378. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0010378

Related papers:

Romanuk, T.N., R.J. Vogt, and J. Kolasa. 2009.
Ecological realism and mechanisms by which diversity begets stability.
Oikos 118:819-828.

Romanuk, T.N., B. Beisner, N.D. Martinez, and J. Kolasa. 2006.
Non-omnivorous generality promotes population stability.
Biology Letters 2:374-377.

Romanuk, T.N., R.J. Vogt, and J. Kolasa. 2006.
Eutrophication weakens the stabilizing effect of diversity on community and population variability.
Oikos 114:291-302.

Vogt, R., T.N. Romanuk, and J. Kolasa. 2006.
Species richness-variability relationships in multi-trophic aquatic microcosms.
Oikos 113:55-66.

Romanuk, T.N., and J. Kolasa. 2004.
Population variability is lower in diverse rock pools when the obscuring effects of local processes are removed.
Ecoscience 11:455-462.

Romanuk, T.N., and J. Kolasa. 2002.
Environmental variability alters the relationship between species richness and community variability in natural rock pool microcosms.
Ecoscience 9:55-62.

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