Project Title: Understanding Biodiversity Change in Food Webs
Funding Body: IRCSET
Period: October 2009 - September 2011
Researcher: Alexander Pimenov
It is widely recognized that the world’s ecosystems are undergoing a mass extinction event. The consequences of these extinctions for ecosystem functioning and the provision of ecosystem services have been widely explored. This project is concerned with the exploration of biodiversity change at multiple trophic levels in food webs and the consequences for the functioning of ecosystems. Essentially, we need to be able to predict the effects of biodiversity change within food webs at a range of scales. Predicting the consequences of biodiversity loss at multiple trophic levels will be impossible without an understanding of how species interact.Recent advances in food web theory suggest that the stability of communities and ecosystems is determined by the metabolic rates of component species, which are in turn dependent on body size. Using linear and non-linear dynamics we will explore the consequences of biodiversity loss and make predictions regarding the effects of diversity change within experimental ecosystems.