Funded by MSCA-IF-2019
When and where are biotic interactions important determinants of species persistence?
Most species show seasonal variation in survival and reproduction, which determines and is affected by biotic (intra- and interspecific) interactions. Such demography-biotic-interaction feedbacks, in turn, mediate community responses to seasonal patterns in environmental factors. Changing these seasonal patterns, which then results in adverse effects on the demography of interacting species, is one important way in which global environmental change alters biodiversity. However, as population and community responses to changes in seasonality are typically studied separately, we lack a mechanistic understanding of the processes that threaten the persistence of interacting species, posing a major challenge to biodiversity conservation. SEASON aims to bridge this fundamental knowledge gap by linking demographic processes and biotic interactions under changes in the seasonality of environmental factors across time and space. Integrating theoretical and empirical analyses, the two main objectives of this project are to (i) develop an analytical framework which assesses how demography-biotic-interaction feedbacks mediate multi-species population responses to seasonality change; and (ii) apply the framework on empirical systems to synthesize novel information on the importance of the feedbacks.
Video introducing the SEASON project in the context of my general research.
Create simulated datasets of species abundances for different interaction types (predator-prey, competition, mutualism). Then do lots of perturbations and sensitivity analyses to create hypotheses on the importance of feedbacks between demography and biotic interactions in keeping a system stable.
Here are some results from the simulations (presented at BES 2020)
Test the hypotheses generated during theoretical simulations on lots of fantastic empirical demographic data on interacting species.
Prof. Revilla hosts my project at EBD CSIC. We are in contact with numerous researchers to integrate seasonal demographic data for Iberian lynxes, red foxes, red kites, rabbits, and other species.
I will be visiting Prof. Ozgul's group at UZH to perform capture-recapture analyses needed for some of the empirical data
Dr. Schradin manages the Striped Mouse Project in the Succulent Karoo. Over > 15 years, the project has collected demographic data on on these social rodents; combined with data on other species in the Succulent Karoo, we will be able to develop interesting multi-species demographic models.