We welcome our first transnational access trainee, Kelsey Lyberger from UC Davis, CA, USA. Kelsey just arrived at SLS and will work within a field mesocosm experiment.
The topic of this experiment is trait-related feedback dynamics in natural plankton communities (DYNATLOSS II). This project is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) within the priority program DynaTrait.
Biodiversity loss is often accompanied by a loss of traits related to resource use and growth, which are important for food web dynamics and trophic transfer efficiencies. In the DYNATLOSS II project, we especially focus on the feedback loop from reduced phytoplankton trait diversity to phytoplankton dynamics via diversity-mediated shifts in zooplankton. We will address this general objective with field experiments with natural plankton communities to estimate the direction and strength of total feedback effects.
Field experiments allow analysing total feedback effects under natural conditions. In close cooperation with the University of Cologne (PI Patrick Fink), we will disentangle individual feedback mechanisms such as linked to grazing dependent size distribution and nutrient availability. These feedback mechanisms may all affect the community of herbivorous zooplankton. This could potentially compensate short-term effects of phytoplankton related shifts in zooplankton composition.
In addition to the experimental approaches in the laboratory and in the field, we will also model the proposed feedback effect using an extension of established nutrient dynamics models in phytoplankton-zooplankton systems.
Kelsey wants to establish mesocosm experiments back at UC Davis after her stay at SLS.