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Biology Talk: Sam Fey, Reed College, "The Rise and Fall of Environmental Variation for Population and Community Ecology."

Friday, September 24, 2021 4:10pm to 5:00pm

3203 SE Woodstock Blvd, Portland, OR 97202, USA

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The Fey Lab focuses on how environmental variation influences the composition, structure, and functioning of biological communities. Our research is centered in population in community ecology, with extensions into physiological, behavioral, and ecosystem ecology. Most research takes place in aquatic ecosystems with lake and pond pelagic food webs. We incorporate field observations, short-term lab experiments, and mathematical models to address research questions.

"The Rise and Fall of Environmental Variation for Population and Community Ecology."

The vast majority of life on Earth is embedded in a mosaic of spatial and temporal environmental variation, yet the field of ecology has yet to satisfactorily discover how ecological processes unfold amidst this variability. The Fey Lab at Reed College combines empirical and theoretical approaches in freshwater plankton food webs to address this challenge. This seminar will highlight a recently developed framework for resolving one complication of environmental variability: gradual phenotypic plasticity– i.e., changes that are too slow to closely track the ecological or environmental changes that drive them, yet too fast to be treated as constant. This research indicates that phenotypic changes can indeed be slow enough to interact with environmental change, giving rise to complex dynamics and unexpected outcomes.

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