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EEB Tuesday Lunch Seminar: Not your father's ecological theory: how trait clusters change our view of limiting similarity

Hector Figueroa, EEB graduate student

trait clusters trait clusters
Join us for our weekly brown bag lunch seminar.

Niche partitioning is a primary mechanism thought to ameliorate competitive interactions and promote coexistence. As such, understanding how competitive interactions and niches interact is potentially invaluable for understanding the formation and maintenance of biodiversity -- a primary goal in ecology. Recent upheavals in ecological theory suggest that competitive interactions should produce a clustered distribution of traits in biological communities, for traits relevant to coexistence. Our lab has recently demonstrated evidence for the existence of these trait clusters in a neotropical forest community. For maximum tree height, the cluster boundaries align surprisingly well with previous models of how light rays and forest canopy architecture interact to produce regions of maximum light availability. This seminar will propose ways to further our understanding of niche processes by illustrating how investigating the scale over which clustering emerges in different traits can be linked to the scale over which those traits might impact competing organisms. Recent collaborative work involving the chemical trait makeup of neotropical plants illustrates how chemical trait space might represent a novel niche axis to test predictions of trait patterning. Finally, a flexible modeling framework for asking how phylogenetic models of trait evolution impact ecological theory is presented as a tool for helping to bridge expectations across community ecology and phylogenetics.
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When and Where

Map Biological Sciences Building - 1010

April 2019

12:00pm - 1:00pm

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