Thursday, March 2, 2006
A preliminary investigation into the structure and dynamics of the Puget Sound food web
Although human activity has impinged on the Puget Sound ecosystem for years, we have limited understanding about the way this activity have affected ecosystem structure and functioning. Consequently, there is a danger of becoming victim to the "shifting baseline syndrome", and recovery plans may be implemented without a clear understanding of the full range of possible ecosystem states. I'm interested in better understanding (1) the present structure of the Puget Sound food web, (2) the historical changes in this food web that has accompanied human activities and (3) the relative roles of large-scale climate vs. local human impacts on this system. In this presentation, I report on a pilot study that sought to describe the contemporary food web structure, identify avenues for historical reconstruction, and suggest paths for fruitful collaborations with climate modelers.
Tim Essington is an Assistant Professor at UW's School of Aquatic & Fishery Sciences. Tim's research focuses on food web interactions involving fish in marine, estuarine, and freshwater habitats. Tim's present research includes analysis of tropical tunas, sharks, and fisheries in the central Pacific, analysis of cod and clupeid dynamics in the Baltic Sea, and identifying trophically mediated trade-offs between fisheries.