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Research

Below are some past and present research projects. More information about research projects is on group members and publications pages.

Trophic links
[image] Trophic links are one of the most common and important types of interspecific interactions. They determine how many species can coexist, dynamics, and responses to environmental change, for example. Just about everything we research concerns trophic interactions in one way or another, and here are a few resulting publications.
Foraging biology predicts food web connectance
Predicting the structure of food webs
How adaptive trophic links make for more robust food webs
Universal patterns in trophic interaction strengths
How prey experience can shape interspecific interactions

Consequences of extinctions
[image] What happens when a species goes extinct? How much diversity is lost and how does this affect ecosystem functioning? When is one extinction more or less likely to result in a cascade of further extinctions? Are generalisations possible about the role of interactions in causing extinctions and predicting their consequences?
Extinction and the loss of functional diversity
Predators effects on mean time to extinction
Species extinctions and ecosystem functioning

Consequences of environmental change
Extinctions are happening at the same time as (and often because) environments are changing. Understanding the effects of this environmental change, and using this understanding for prediction, would represent a significant advance in both fundamental and applied ecology. Here are some examples of our  research on this topic.
Predicting the effects of temperature change on food web structure
Direct and indirect effects of environmental change on ecosystem functioning
Impacts of warming on aquatic communities

Parasite communities
[image] Owen, Amy Pedersen, Andy Fenton, and others, are researching the communities of parasites that live within hosts. How do these co-infecting parasite species interact with each, and what are the consequences of any interactions for community stability? These are classic community ecology questions; applying them to within-host communities is quite novel and exciting. We study these communities within mice and within humans. Publications include:
Stability of within-host–parasite communities in a wild mammal system
The nature and consequences of coinfetion in humans