Ecosystems are one of the basic units of ecology: combinations of organisms and inorganic environmental features that interact at multiple spatial and temporal scales. A forest on the side of a mountain, a tree in that forest, or a leaf on that tree are all examples of ecosystems. Despite their obvious differences in size, each comprises trophic interactions and exchanges of materials with their surroundings. In a trophic interaction a consumer—e.g., a plant, an animal, a bacteria—consumes a resource, for instance, nutrients in the soil or another organism, to obtain energy, grow, and eventually reproduce. Exchanges of materials with the ecosystem’s surroundings comprise mobilising and transporting matter, energy, and information in time and space. Trophic interactions within ecosystems and cross-ecosystem exchanges weave a network that spans the globe, supporting life everywhere.
My work focuses on investigating and understanding how cross-ecosystem exchanges modify the dynamics of ecosystems over time. I am also interested in how ecosystem characteristics—for instance, resource distribution in space and time—change the way organisms use their environment.
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