(CANCELLED) NS Seminar: Building a food web for an island in the South Pacific

Date and Location

Oct 31, 2016 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm
Network Science Lab, Bldg 434, Room 122


Elizabeth Forbes
Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology
UC Santa Barbara


Elizabeth will lead a presentation of the methods used to generate highly-resolved food webs at Palmyra Atoll. Palmyra Atoll is an unorganized incorporated territory of the United States, located about 1000 miles south of Hawaii in the Line Islands region.  It is comprised of small islands and islets, a considerable coral reef, and large lagoon flats. It hosts a temporary population of between 5 and 25 (ish) staff and researchers, is currently run by the Nature Conservancy and the United States Geological Survey, and is protected as a National Wildlife Refuge.

Why build food webs describing these islands? They are ideal systems for studying food webs: they're surround by water and therefore have discrete boundaries; they have relatively few species (i.e. it is conceivable to identify all of them); they are naturally replicated; and they vary along gradients of size and productivity. Thus, well-defined food webs of each island will provide data on how community structure and network stability is influenced by size and primary production. This presentation will describe the field work involved in making well-resolved food web, the tools used to collect organisms and feeding interactions, and the various methods utilized to ensure that communities of organisms are appropriately sampled and described.

Elizabeth Forbes was a member of the first Network Science IGERT cohort in Fall 2014. She is a PhD student in the Young Lab in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology.