Research

Our recent research develops new theory and conducts theory-driven empirical analysis (when possible) to understand biodiversity and ecosystem functioning and stability across space and trophic levels.

    

Biodiversity and ecosystem stability across spatial scales

 Members: 王少鹏;陈青青;李周园梁茂伟颜颖洪蒲滨;罗明宇;于越
   

Biodiversity is not only declining in many local ecosystems, but is also becoming increasingly homogenized across space. Yet the consequence of biotic homogenization remains largely unknown. Our recent work developed a novel framework to study ecosystem stability across scales (Wang & Loreau 2014; Wang et al. 2017). In the light of this framework, we used metacommunity models and experimental data and showed that biotic homogenization impairs ecosystem stability (Wang & Loreau 2016; Wang et al. 2019). This framework has been applied to plants, birds, fishes, microbes, and global food production.

Our ongoing work collects spatiotemporal data to test model predictions and develop new statistical tools to reveal population dynamics over space and time. In particular, we investigate how environmental changes may alter the effect of biodiversity on ecosystems functioning and stability.

   

Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in food webs

 Members: 王少鹏张兵;周礼斌;郑君倢;陈浩缜;李鑫
    

One challenge in merging community and ecosystem ecology is to integrate the complexity of natural multitrophic communities into concepts of ecosystem functioning. Our recent theoretical work showed that ecosystem primary production increased with vertical diversity measured by the maximum trophic level (Vertical Diversity Hypothesis; Wang & Brose 2018). We further showed that intraguild predation (IGP), a commonly observed structure in natural food webs, could maintain a higher biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in complex food webs (Wang et al. 2019).

Our ongoing projects extend previous models to furhter clarify the link between structure, functioning and stability in complex food webs. Since 2019, we launched a survey project on soil food webs in China's forests to resolve the traits (body size, stoichiometry, etc.), feeding links and trophic interactions of soil animals. We are particularly interested in the role of stoichiometry in shaping food web structure and functioning. 

   

Spatial food webs

 Members: 王少罗明宇叶小洲
   
Spatial dynamics play an important role in the maintenance of biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. We develop spatial food web models to understand how landscape configuration and dispersal interact and regulate species diversity and ecosystem functioning in realistic, complex ecological systems.
Our goal is to develop an integrated theory of spatial and trophic ecology, which may offer novel insights for conservation and management practices.