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The Influence of Spatial Structure and Trophic Interactions on Ecological Communities


The central theme of my dissertation is the influence of spatial structure and trophic interactions on ecological community dynamics and subsequent patterns of community diversity. I studied this phenomenon in different ecological context. In a synthesis of protist microcosm experiments, I studied how spatial network structure influenced predator-prey persistence (chapter 1). Subsequently, I shifted my focus to Sierra Nevada, CA high elevation aquatic systems. In high elevation lake-stream networks, I investigated whether patterns of macroinvertebrate diversity matched predictions from established stream ecology frameworks and the underlying processes driving these diversity patterns (chapter 2). Lastly, in order to understand how spatial structure and trophic interactions interactively structure communities, I studied how macroinvertebrate and zooplankton communities in Sierra Nevada streams and lakes are structured along spatial gradients and as a function of fish (chapter 3).

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