New approaches to ecological networks
Despite decades of research on the structure of food webs, competitive and pollinator networks, such research has historically proceeded independently. Ideally, species interaction networks would incorporate all interaction types into a single framework (Hutchinson et al. accepted), given that species are empirically embedded in complex networks such that antagonistic and mutualistic interactions are irrevocably entangled. With a grant from the James S. McDonnell Foundation, I am pursuing a more general understanding of such so-called "whole-community networks", with a focus on testing how network architecture may drive abrupt state shifts and how topological properties of complex networks contribute to potentially catastrophic cascades of environmental perturbations.
Hutchinson, M. B. Bramon Mora, S. Pilosof, A. Barner, S. Kéfi, E. Thébault, P. Jordano, D. Stouffer. Accepted at Functional Ecology.