Ignasi Arranz Urgell, PhD, Postdoctoral fellow
Short description of your project
What does body size tell us about species coexistence? My project focuses on understanding the processes driving patterns of coexistence by analyzing abundance-size relationships. In my Ph.D., I found that the abundance-size relationships of lake fish responded to several factors, such as trophic interactions and environmental variables, which also have an important influence on community assembly. As body size is also strongly related to the trophic level of species, fish size structure can be a good proxy for the trophic transfer of energy to explain mechanisms underlying species co-existence. I use a Canadian fish dataset containing taxonomic distribution, in-depth fish-size information, and environmental predictors including factors describing anthropogenic impacts. Whether or not species are present in a particular habitat is a central area of research in community ecology that is also central to the conservation and management of populations and their communities.
My main interest is understanding the complexity of species interactions in freshwater ecosystems, particularly using lake fish as a study group. In this sense, I tackle questions such as who eats whom or who controls whom and answer them using theoretical backgrounds and advanced statistical tools. I use size structure, or the relationship between abundance and size of organisms, to understand the effects of environmental and biotic factors at different spatial (local to continental) and ecological (population and community) scales. I also combine size structure as a functional approach with diversity metrics and ecological patterns (e.g. species-area relationship) to explain species coexistence and niche theory. My interests also include developing additional and complementary research in taxonomy, isotopic analysis, impacts of exotic species, and the restoration and conservation of other freshwater systems such as ponds and rivers.