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Seminar: Charles Ramcharan

Posted: October 30, 2008

Great Lakes Center Seminar:
"The Abiotic-Biotic Model For Community Re-Assembly"

Dr. Charles Ramcharan
Laurentian University, Ontario
Department of Biology

Studying the recovery of industrially-damaged ecosytems is of course a very important goal in applied ecology. Perhaps, however, there are also important lessons for theoretical ecologists. For example, recovery of damaged ecosystems may be thought of as a successional trajectory, not too different from recolonization following natural damage. Damaged systems are also often depauperate in terms of species and may be lacking in entire guilds and trophic levels. As long as confounding effects can be dealt with, such systems may be thought of as food web manipulations. The kind of experiment that community ecologists themselves might do, had they the funding, resources, and loose permitting restrictions of major industry. I present an overview of studies done by my research group who've spent the last 30 years studying the recovery of Sudbury area lakes from historical industrial damage. I then describe a model for the re-assembly of these damaged communities. My "abiotic-biotic" or "A-B" model is conceptual and very much in the development stage but it does seem to capture some of the salient features of recovery, and also provides an intellectual framework for perhaps "operationalizing" the recovery process. The A-B model draws from other theoretical studies involving the search for community assembly rules, and I do hope that theoretical ecology might in turn be advanced by a more thoughtful look at damaged ecosystems.

Thursday, October 30, 2008
12:15 P.M.
Classroom Building B106

Students, staff and faculty welcome. Light refreshments will be served.

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