Constructing ecological network models to predict community shifts through space and time in the Australian Wet Tropics
Seamus Doherty, Constructing ecological network models to predict community shifts through space and time in the Australian Wet Tropics
Winner – ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage VYT local competition (2022)
All life on earth is part of a highly complex and interconnected system called the biosphere.
Over the last 50 years, much of the biosphere has been destroyed or degraded as a result of human activity.
But because ecological communities comprise different connections of interacting fauna and flora, threats that directly affect some species often have indirect effects on others in the same community.
Therefore, quantifying how species interact within their community is important for predicting their entire responses to current and future environmental conditions.
For this reason, the focus of my research is to develop a framework for assessing species’ vulnerability to these effects and apply this to the highly specialised communities found in the tropical rainforests of Northern Queensland.
This research will include developing the first ecological network models for this region and subjecting them to different environmental simulations.
Using these novel approaches, my research will help to recognise the role direct and indirect effects have on the extinction risk of these communities, as well as other terrestrial ecosystems globally.