My research focuses on the context dependency of ecological processes in stream ecosystems. That context includes a careful consideration of both spatial and temporal scale.
I have studied context dependency and scale in many stream ecosystems (coastal to alpine and tropical to arctic) and based on a variety of responses (ecosystem rates, biofilm, macroinvertebrates, fish). To highlight just a few research findings: 1) Ecosystem rates in streams responded to the removal of large-bodied consumers, such as fish, shrimp, or salamanders, but responses depend on the density of consumers, as well as the scale of the experimental manipulation (1 m2 or 10-100s of m2). 2) Biofilm responses to the nutrient subsidy of and physical disturbance by Pacific salmon spawners depended on environmental conditions among streams and across years including the timing and magnitude of the salmon runs. However, an adequate description of the biofilm responses to salmon spawners required high-frequency measurements of biofilm, salmon, and physio-chemical parameters that allowed for modeling of the salmon-biofilm interaction within the context of environmental conditions. 3) Macroinvertebrate species assemblages depended on the hydrologic and temperature regimes of alpine streams.
My current project, funded through an SNF Ambizione grant, will focus on food webs as a whole, and how their structure and function is determined by the environmental fluctuations of light, temperature, and discharge as well as carbon subsidies (organic matter inputs from outside the stream).