Department of Zoology and Biodiversity Research Centre
University of British Columbia
Supervised by Diane S. Srivastava
Integrating energy channels and ecological stoichiometry theory using invertebrate food webs
Ecosystems and ecological communities are biological networks of energy and material flow, where, for example, predators consume primary consumers that consume primary producers. There are two distinct theoretical approaches to predicting how energy and matter flows through food webs. First, the energy channel framework suggests that some trophic chains have faster flow of energy and matter than others, because the organisms or resources have characteristics that allow rapid turnover and replenishment. Second, ecological stoichiometry describes how consumers select those resources that best match their own elemental body composition, because their growth rates are limited by the element in the lowest relative supply in their diet. Despite their potential connections, the two theories have never been joined in a single framework. Therefore, the premise of my thesis is that ecological stoichiometry can provide the mechanistic basis for understanding flow in energy channels.