Dr. Rudolf Volker
Ecological and evolutionary consequences of cannibalism and size structure
Individuals typically change their role in the ecosystem during their development. For example young/small individuals might eat plants while large large individuals might be carnivorous and cannibalistic. This can have profound impacts on species interactions such as predation or competition and the structure of natural communities. We ask how this variation affects individual behavior, species interactions, biodiversity, and ecosystem functioning, and dynamics of infectious diseases. Our study systems include aquatic pond systems (from salamander to dragonflies) and terrestrial invertebrates such as flour beetles. Century scholars will learn how to design and conduct experiments with any of these systems and work in the field or in the lab and research current scientific literature.