PhD student, Brown University
Location: Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Research: Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning in the Galapagos Marine Reserve
Species/Topic: Sea Urchins
Abstract: In response to the increasingly loss of species, due to environmental, as well as to anthropogenic factors, ecological research over the past decade has focused on the functional roles of biodiversity (or better known as Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning: BEF), with the overall goal of understanding how and why species matter. BEF relationships in marine systems are particularly relevant where the removal of large predatory fish, sea urchins, and other key consumers, have provoked dramatic shifts in community structure. For this reason, the goal of the project proposed herein is to understand BEF relationships in the Galapagos Marine Reserve (GMR), by setting up an experiment with 5 species of sea urchins in order to answer the question: does the diversity of sea urchins affect productivity, a key ecosystem function?