Research in my lab is directed toward understanding the dynamics of populations and communities living in marine rocky intertidal and shallow subtidal habitats. Our research principally focuses on three main topics:
1) Physical forcing of benthic ecosystems – particularly how environmental processes that operate at comparatively large scales modify the balance of positive and negative interactions among species that form local communities. Predominant themes include bottom-up regulation by oceanographic processes (particularly upwelling), the importance of non-trophic interactions and facilitative effects (e.g. habitat modification), and the role of dispersal.
2) Significance of biological diversity for ecosystem functioning, particularly as buffer to variable environmental conditions.
3) Ecological resistance and resilience to extreme climate events. We combine an individual-based understanding of changing vulnerability to climate fluctuations with evaluation of alteration of other “supporting” species interactions, with particular focus on highly connected species (e.g. habitat providers). In all our ecological studies, we use a combination of approaches, including correlation between physical and biological variables, comparative methods, and manipulative experiments in the field and laboratory. Thanks to recent national/international collaborations, we are also utilizing Ecological Networks to describe and compare structures of trophic and non-trophic interactions in real, complex systems and understand effects of network structure on properties such as ecosystem stability.
- Kéfi S, EL Berlow, EA Wieters, LN Joppa, SA Wood, U Brose, SA Navarrete (2015) Network structure beyond food webs: Mapping non-trophic and trophic interactions on Chilean rocky shores. Ecology 96(1): 291-303. doi: http://dx.doi.org/
- Wieters EA, C McQuaid, G Palomo, P Pappalardo, & SA Navarrete (2012) Biogeographical boundaries, functional group structure and diversity of rocky shore communities along the Argentinean coast. PLoS ONE 7(11): e49725. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0049725