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.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Body Ecology

Marina Ritchie successfully defended her thesis titled "Structure and Function of the Human Microbiome"
Abstract: Humans harbour a diverse suite of microorganisms in and on their bodies. These microorganisms collectively amount to 10 times more cells than the cells in the human body, and their combined genomes have more than 100 times more genes than the human genome does. Despite our understanding of the composition, diversity, and abundance of microorganisms of the human body, it is surprising how little we know about the structure and function of the human microbiome. Here, I use network structure to describe interactions among human-associated microbiota and the human body by exploring differences in structure of human microbiomes across five regions of the body and the robustness of these networks to perturbations. My results show that positive interactions among microbiota are extremely important in structuring microbiome networks and those structural aspects of microbiome networks play a major role in their response to perturbations.

1 comment:

Michelle Solomon said...

very interesting thesis, like to hear about and read more.