Historically, ecologists have debated the relative importance of dispersal and local species interactions (such as competition and predation) in structuring biodiversity. Recent advances have shown that these two processes often work in conjunction to produce surprising results, yet most research has remained focused on local interactions. This is particularly true in the case of global change studies, where scientists have focused on how changes to temperature or rainfall alter competitive dynamics. In this study we use common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) and its community of specialist herbivores to understand how temperature change will alter insect communities through effects on both local dynamics and dispersal among milkweed patches.
Principal Investigator: Ben Gilbert
Researcher: Tess Grainger