Predicting the fate of a community from initial conditions and the structure of the metacommunity
We are exploring the community of protists in bromeliads with the goal of providing a mechanistic framework (i.e.: a model) to explain the dynamic of these microbial communities in relation to environmental variables. In particular, we want to know if it is possible to predict the long-term success or failure of these small ecosystems as a function of 1) the size and nutrient content of the bromeliad; 2) the presence of mosquito larvae, top-predator in these communities. A model that manages to explain the interactions between a migrating predator –the mosquito- and the different communities it feasts upon, would open the possibility of model-based environmental policies.
Funded through a competitive grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation.