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Developing the predictive ecology of plant-animal interactions across space and time


In the face of the alarming pace of recent environmental change on Earth we lack the tools to accurately predict how biodiversity and ecosystem services will respond. One key gap in knowledge that limits our predictive ability is uncertainty concerning how the biotic interactions that are essential for species persistence and ecosystem services (i.e., pollination) will change. Developing a predictive science of species interactions requires integrating evolutionary, biogeographic and ecological mechanisms acting at different spatial and temporal scales. We will use a hierarchical cross-scale approach, combining phylogeography, network ecology, statistical modelling and experiments, to disentangle the mechanisms governing species richness and mutualistic interactions in tropical hummingbirds and their food plants.