Faculty Lunchtime Seminar (Prof. Armitage)
Title: Context-dependence and generality in community ecology - two sides of the same coin?
Abstract: Community ecology is often derided for its lack of general theory. Factors limiting one population's growth can be insignificant elsewhere. While this flavor of context-dependence clearly impedes a predictive theory of ecology, it also paradoxically functions as a very general mechanism that maintains biodiversity. I will review how a context-dependent competition theory can clarify the general mechanisms underlying species coexistence and geographic range limits. I'll then riff on the theme of ecological context-dependence as it pertains to our unit members' work on carnivorous plants, pestiferous bats, and noxious roadside weeds.