Seasonality and temporal ecology

The role of environmental fluctuations on ecological dynamics across scales

Temporal environmental fluctuations, such as seasonality, exert strong controls on biodiversity. Highly predictable variability can enable the coexistence of an unexpectedly high number of species. We are increasingly realising the rapidity with which natural cycles are changing and the extent to which these changes are affecting biodiversity, from genes to entire ecosystems. These changes are threatening the stability of ecosystems and their services across scales. We develop mechanistic models and analyse long-term ecological datasets to uncover the drivers of temporal variability in ecosystems. We are particularly interested in the link between local and regional dynamics, including dispersal and habitat connectivity, and the role of spatial insurance in regulating the stability of biodiversity at multiple scales. Potential regulators of ecological stability differ across spatial scales, from local compensatory population dynamics to regional-scale asynchrony in community fluctuations, so we are particularly interested in understanding the mechanisms of multi-scale ecological stability under fluctuating environmental regimes.

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