The ecosystems of the world are currently facing a variety of anthropogenic perturbations, such as climate change, fragmentation and destruction of habitat, overexploitation of natural resources and invasions of alien species. How the ecosystems will be affected is not only dependent on the direct effects of the perturbations on individual species but also on the trophic structure and interaction patterns of the ecological community. Of particular current concern is the response of ecological communities to climate change. Increased global temperature is expected to cause an increased intensity and frequency of weather extremes. A more unpredictable and more variable environment will have important consequences not only for individual species but also for the dynamics of the entire community. If we are to fully understand the joint effects of a changing climate and habitat fragmentation, there is also a need to understand the spatial aspects of community dynamics.
During my PhD I have used theoretical models of ecological communities to investigate how they respond to different kind of perturbations caused by anthropogenic activities. In the first part of my thesis I have focused on the importance of the processes at the scale of the local community, especially how biodiversity and interaction patterns among species affect the stability and persistence of communities when exposed to a highly variable environment. In the second part of my thesis I expanded the model into a metacommunity exploring how spatial processes such as the spatial correlation (synchrony) of the environmental variation, dispersal patterns of species and habitat loss affects the stability and the risks of global species extinctions.
Linda Kaneryd, PhD
IFM, Theorethical Biology
SE-581 83 Linköping
phone: +46 (0)73 3810385
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Last updated: 04/19/12