Free and open to the public.
Rachel M. Germain, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Zoology, at University of British Columbia/Biodiversity Research Centre. Ecological communities are embedded within landscapes, subject to complex spatial flows of energy and matter that bind them together. As we toggle the spatial scale at which we observe a community, patterns reflect new combinations of processes, as well as interactions among processes that operate at distinct scales. In this talk, I will scale up from local communities to regions to broad biogeographic scales in grassland ecosystems of Northern California, a global biodiversity hotspot that, like many ecosystems worldwide, is threatened by the widespread invasion of non-native species. Using field experiments and a demographic approach borrowed from population ecology, I will uncover (i) how ecological processes transition in importance with scale, and (ii) how ecological processes themselves evolve as a consequence of spatial structure. My findings bridge fundamental gaps between metacommunity ecology, evolutionary ecology, and landscape ecology, advancing basic theory, as well as providing new insight into how biological invasions impact biodiversity.