My research is focused on understanding the role of trophic interactions in mediating ecosystem-level responses to global change. A food web is more than the sum of its parts and so by concentrating on individual nodes or compartments, we may be missing key information about the pathways of energy flow that bring about significant change in natural systems. Identifying the connections between individuals and species, and quantifying the strength of those trophic interactions is critical to our understanding of how perturbations alter community structure and ecosystem processes. I have undertaken research within this general framework in marine, freshwater, and terrestrial ecosystems, seeking common responses to environmental and anthropogenic stressors across these different ecosystem types. I seek simple rules that lead to stabilising structures, with a particular focus on body size as a key functional attribute that drives interactions and self-organisation in food webs.
et al., 2014, Climate change and geothermal ecosystems: natural laboratories, sentinel systems, and future refugia, Global Change Biology, Vol:20, ISSN:1354-1013, Pages:3291-3299
et al., 2012, Climate-induced changes in bottom-up and top-down processes independently alter a marine ecosystem, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Vol:367, ISSN:0962-8436, Pages:2962-2970
O'Gorman EJ, Fitch JE, Crowe TP, 2012, Multiple anthropogenic stressors and the structural properties of food webs, Ecology, Vol:93, ISSN:0012-9658, Pages:441-448
et al., 2010, Interaction strength, food web topology and the relative importance of species in food webs, Journal of Animal Ecology, Vol:79, ISSN:0021-8790, Pages:682-692
O'Gorman EJ, Emmerson MC, 2009, Perturbations to trophic interactions and the stability of complex food webs, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Vol:106, ISSN:0027-8424, Pages:13393-13398