Species interactions are an integral component of ecology. Faculty in the Department of Biology and Wildlife investigate a wide spectrum of questions that contribute to both ecological theory and applied biology relevant to resource management. Many of these are investigated from the perspective of plant phenology and succession, plant-animal interactions pertaining to various forms of herbivory, and broader studies of trophic relationships. Examples of ongoing research projects include pollination biology of native and invasive species, vegetation responses to herbivory by irruptive insect species, interactions of insect and mammal herbivores on successional dynamics, and broader studies of predator-prey interactions across a range of taxa.
One of the biggest challenges in understanding how populations, communities, and ecosystems are responding to a rapidly changing environment is understanding how interactions between species are changing. We are tackling this challenge by evaluating the impacts of a rapidly warming environment, the spread of non-native plants and animals, and the continued fragmentation of habitats on interactions between plants, animals, fungi, and microbes. Much of this research is part of long-term studies associated with the Long Term Ecological Research Programs at Bonanza Creek (Boreal forest LTER) and Toolik Field Station (Arctic tundra LTER).
Faculty doing research in this area: