Microbes mediate the global marine cycles of elements, modulating atmospheric CO2 and helping to maintain the oxygen we all breath yet there is much about them scientists still don’t understand. Now, an award from the Simons Foundation will give researchers from the Darwin Project access to bigger, better computing resources to model these communities and probe how they work. Continue reading
Leaving the cold of a New England February behind, the Darwin team will be in full attendance at this year’s Ocean Sciences conference taking place February 23-28 in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Idealized equilibrium models have attributed the observed size structure of marine communities to the interactions between nutrient and grazing control. In a new paper in the Journal of Plankton Research Ben Ward and co-authors Stephanie Dutkiewicz and Mick Follows examine this theory in a more realistic context using a size-structured global ocean food-web model, together with a much simplified version of the same model for which equilibrium solutions are readily obtained.
Ward, B.A., S. Dutkiewicz, and M.J. Follows (2014) Modelling spatial and temporal patterns in size-structured marine plankton communities: top-down and bottom-up controls, Journal of Plankton Research, 0, 1-17, doi:10.1093/plankt/fbt097
Ward, B.A., S. Dutkiewicz, and M.J. Follows (2013), Top-down and bottom-up controls in a global size-structured plankton food-web model, Journal of Plankton Research , 0, 1-17, doi: 10.1093/plankt/fbt097
Predators’ switching towards the most abundant prey is a mechanism that stabilizes population dynamics and helps overcome competitive exclusion of species in food webs. However, current formulations of active prey-switching in marine ecosystem models display non-maximal feeding; the total ingestion of prey by predators decays exponentially with the number of prey species even though the total prey biomass stays constant.
Vallina, S. M. , B. A. Ward, S. Dutkiewicz, and M. J. Follows (2013), Maximal feeding with active prey-switching: a kill-the-winner functional response and its effect on global diversity and biogeography, Progress in Oceanography, 120, 93–109, doi: 10.1016/j.pocean.2013.08.001
Prowe, A. E. F., M. Pahlow, S. Dutkiewicz, M. Follows, and A. Oschlies (2012), Top-down control of marine phytoplankton diversity in a global ecosystem model, Progr. Oceanogr., doi:10.1016/j.pocean.2011.11.016