NCEAS Project 10421

Ecological stoichiometry and the spatial distributions and temporal dynamics of arthropods

  • Diane W. Davidson
  • William F. Fagan

ActivityDatesFurther Information
Working Group9th—15th May 2006Participant List  
Graduate Student1st June 2006—31st January 2007Participant List  
Working Group12th—16th February 2007Participant List  

Stoichiometry, the study of the balance of multiple elements in living systems, is increasingly recognized as an integrative axis within ecology and across biological disciplines. We seek to characterize a series of little-explored links between stoichiometry and the spatial distributions and temporal dynamics of arthropods. These issues lie at the interface of macroecology and macrophysiology. We focus on four arthropod groups where different stoichiometric mechanisms likely help determine species-level spatial distributions and/or temporal dynamics. These include three taxonomically defined groups (the Orthoptera [grasshoppers and crickets], the Lepidoptera [butterflies and moths], and the Hymenoptera [ants and bees]) plus one ecologically defined group (troglobites [obligate cave dwellers]). Mechanisms link an arthropod's stoichiometry with its capacities for growth, reproduction, and dispersal. We use these linkages as springboards for testing three hypotheses. First, focusing on orthopterans and lepidopterans, we will characterize how a species' stoichiometry is linked to its tendency to exhibit "outbreak" dynamics and what elements are most important. Second, focusing on hymenopterans and troglobites, we will test how an arthropod's stoichiometric content relates to the breadth of habitats it exploits. Lastly, focusing on orthopterans, hymenopterans, lepidopterans and other arthropods, we will test whether these same stoichiometric mechanisms imply that the elemental content of some species will predispose them to respond to global change via shifts in their geographic ranges. We will address these three issues by characterizing the "intersections" of several ecological databases. Our work will be primarily from an empirical, ecoinformatic perspective; however, we will complement these efforts with theoretical modeling of insect outbreak dynamics in stoichiometrically explicit population models.

TypeProducts of NCEAS Research
Journal Article Fagan, William F.; Frithjof, Lutscher; Schneider, Katie. 2007. Population and community consequences of spatial subsidies derived from central-place foraging. American Naturalist. Vol: 107. Pages 902-915.
Data Set Fagan, William F. 2008. Detritivory: stoichiometry of a neglected trophic level data. (Online version)
Data Set Fagan, William F. 2008. Ecological stoichiometry and the spatial distributions and temporal dynamics of arthropods. (Online version)
Journal Article Hambäck, Peter; Gilbert, James; Schneider, Katie; Martinson, Holly M.; Kolb, Gundula; Fagan, William F. 2009. Effects of body size, trophic mode and larval habitat on Diptera stoichiometry: A regional comparison. Oikos. Vol: 118. Pages 615-623. (Online version)
Journal Article Martinson, Holly M.; Schneider, Katie; Gilbert, James; Hines, Jessica E.; Hambäck, Peter; Fagan, William F. 2008. Detritivory: Stoichiometry of a neglected trophic level. Ecological Research. Vol: 23. Pages 487-491.