Theses Doctoral

Reconstructing community assembly: the impacts of alternate histories on contemporary ecology

Weeks, Brian

The complexity of ecological and evolutionary processes that govern species distributions has long presented a challenge to understanding community assembly history. The work presented here develops a conceptual framework for integrating phylogenetics and biogeography to reconstruct the assembly of communities, provides empirical support for the broad applicability of this framework, tests whether morphology can serve as a proxy for behavioral ecology, and develops a novel metric of assemblage vulnerability and shows how vulnerability is related to biogeographic history. This dissertation demonstrates the need to merge evolution and ecology to reconstruct community assembly, and provides a framework for doing so. Further, the findings presented here suggest that such an interdisciplinary approach has the potential to both reveal fundamental processes shaping the assembly of natural systems, and to illuminate the functions and properties of ecosystems based on the evolutionary histories of their constituent species.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology
Thesis Advisors
Naeem, Shahid
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
July 29, 2017