Research Frontiers in Ecological Stoichiometry
Thursday, August 13, 2015: 8:00 AM-11:30 AM
329, Baltimore Convention Center
Angélica L. González, Rutgers University
Jessica R. Corman, Arizona State University
One of the core issues in ecology is to understand the underlying mechanisms that shape the structure and functioning of ecological systems from genes to ecosystems. Traditional approaches to understanding natural systems have relied on separate conceptual frameworks, such as evolutionary biology, community ecology or ecosystem ecology. Our ability to understand, predict, and mitigate the impacts of human activities on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning will depend in part on the integration of these approaches into a framework that builds from individuals to ecosystems. Ecological stoichiometry (ES), the study of the balance of energy and multiple chemical elements in living systems, has provided a framework for accomplishing integration across divergent areas of ecology. The premises of this conceptual framework are grounded in basic principles of biology, chemistry, and physics that govern the organization and functioning of all living systems. Three decades of ES have improved a mechanistic understanding of a variety of ecological processes including individual growth, population dynamics, trophic interactions, and the functioning of ecosystems. ES continues expanding its domain by applying its principles to emerging biological phenomena, including stoichiometric constraints on eco-evolutionary dynamics, macrophysiology, and coupled natural and human systems.
Speakers in this Organized Oral Session will contribute perspectives to studying how stoichiometric constraints shape ecological and evolutionary processes acting on individual traits, which in turn affect community structure and ecosystem function. They will explore conceptual progresses and accomplishments, and discuss new directions in both theory and research for ES. The program of this Organized Oral Session combines the presentation of theoretical and empirical research on ecological stoichiometry, from small-scale experimental manipulations to larger-scale patterns and processes. This session takes an important step forward in our efforts to understand the role of elemental constraints on the diversity, structure and functioning of ecological systems in a changing world.