Gammarid amphipod.

A 23-year record of zooplankton populations from the Palmer LTER, along with hundreds of other datasets, will contribute to understanding the role of synchrony in ecological diversity.
Gammarid amphipod.
Credit: Joe Cope/Palmer LTER

Project Summary: Understanding factors that influence ecological stability is a key question in ecology. Population ecology has highlighted that synchrony within a species over space is an important indicator of species stability. Community ecology, in contrast, has highlighted that asynchrony between species within space may enhance the stability of aggregate properties (such as total productivity). Using LTER data, we will integrate population and community approaches to synchrony to understand drivers of ecosystem stability at different scales.

The working group applies cutting-edge statistical techniques (e.g., wavelet analyses, variance decomposition) to long-term, spatially replicated data from terrestrial and aquatic LTER sites in order to:

  1. understand the timescales at which synchrony occurs,
  2. identify drivers of synchrony and
  3. integrate the effects of population and community synchrony on ecological stability.

The diverse group consists of terrestrial and aquatic ecologists with synthesis experience and quantitative ecologists with strong analytical skills. Final products from the working group will include an R package containing our analytical tools, a data workflow and derived data product, and a series of papers synthesizing causes and consequences of synchrony across the LTER network.