Early Registration Deadline
12 February 2010

Travel Award & Grant Recipients Notified
March 2010

Authors Notified
April 2010

Schedule Posted
January 2010

Hawkins, C. P., Utah State University, Logan, UT, USA, chuck.hawkins@usu.edu
Cao, Y. ., Illinois Natural History Survey, Champaign, IL, USA, yong.cao@illinois.edu

SIMULATING COMMUNITY RESPONSE TO STRESS CAN HELP INTERPRET ECOLOGICAL INDICES AND ANALYSES

The interpretation of analyses and indices used to quantify how ecological communities respond to human-caused stress is hindered by the fact that we never know exactly how real communities have been altered. As a consequence, we have difficulty interpreting (and agreeing on) what specifically our methods assess and to what extent they are successful. We have used simulation as a way of evaluating how sampling effectiveness and known changes in community composition and structure affect different types of assessment endpoints (e.g., estimates of differences in taxa richness, multimetric and O/E index values, and multivariate descriptions of differences among communities). In our past work, we have focused on simulating differences in mortality among resident taxa in response to changes in generalized stress. We are currently extending that work to explore how communities differentially respond to specific types of stress. We have not yet incorporated into our simulations how stress might promote establishment of nonresident taxa that can invade systems following stress.

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