Toward macroecological predictions
Extant community structure is thought to be a function of a number of interacting processes. Species interactions, dispersal, priority effects, coevolution and many other ecological processes may feedback on one another in complex ways, making the prediction of local community composition difficult or impossible.
In a system where regional environmental conditions act as a strong filter for community structure, and dispersal limitation generates marked local patch structure, I'm using experimental clearances to testing whether local or regional diversity constrains the trajectory of assembly, and ultimately emergent community structure.
These experimental clearances, begun in 2013 and replicated at 6 sites along the Oregon coast, are paired with long-term environmental and ecological monitoring at these sites, dating back 30 years, an ideal field "laboratory" setting to explore our predictive capacity in a changing environment.