Palaeo-webs: integrating the past and present to inform the future
Presenta: Ruth Rawcliffe - (CNR-ISE, Verbania)
Shallow lakes are often cited as classic examples of systems that exhibit trophic cascades, providing good model systems with which to test general ecological theory and to assess long-term community change. Preserving a rich biological record in their sediments, they are also important models for inferring long-term intergenerational dynamics. By integrating palaeolimnological and contemporary data using a spatio-temporal ‘analogue’ approach, we can reconstruct not just past assemblages (i.e. nodes within a food web), but also past interactions (i.e. links within a food web). This addition of a temporal dimension offers potential for reconstructing food webs over intergenerational timescales that are more appropriate to community response to long-term perturbations, such as eutrophication, acidification and climate change.
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