Reassembly of species interaction networks – Resistance, resilience and functional recovery of a rainforest ecosystem
By the end of 2021, we will start a DFG-funded Research Unit (FOR 5207) REASSEMBLY of species interaction networks. See TU Darmstadt press release (LINK).
“REASSEMBLY” aims at understanding network dynamics to uncover rules of network dis- and reassembly in a highly diverse tropical lowland rainforest ecosystem. We will study the dynamics of natural forest recovery from agriculture along a chronosequence and the contribution of re-assembled networks to the resilience of ecosystem processes against perturbation. We will compare the trajectories of predator–prey, plant–pollinator, and plant–seed disperser networks, as well as decomposition networks between mammals, dung beetles and seeds, and between dead wood, ants, termites, and beetles. Subprojects thus examine networks of all major ecosystem processes mediated by interspecific interactions: predation, pollination, primary and secondary seed dispersal, herbivory, decomposition, and tree seedling recruitment. The study is located in the Chocó lowland forest of North-West Ecuador, an area that faces particularly high deforestation rates. We will work within and around forest reserves owned by Fundación Jocotoco, a private Ecuadorian conservation foundation (jocotoco.org). Our 62 study plots include forests recovering for different time spans from a former use as pasture or plantation (16 under agricultural use, 30 recovering forests and 16 primary forests).
NOTE: For the position of the postdoctoral research coordinator we have now identified a candidate and will not be able to consider further applications.
We have recieved numerous numerous highly qualified applications from five continents and thank the applicants for their interest.