Max's proposal "How do species coexist under spatial variation across scales?
" is funded in full and will start in April.
Proposal summary: "How does the natural world maintain its astonishing diversity, especially among species that are directly competing with each other? Why don't we end up having a few species that is the best competitor in each trophic level? Decades of rigorous mathematical research has led to an essential prediction that smaller scale or shorter-term population fluctuation driven by environmental variation can possibly lead to larger scale and longer term stable coexistence between competing species. However, we seriously lack quantitative field tests on this prediction. This project uses both multi-scale field experiment and mathematical modeling to test the hypothesis that smaller scale environmental variation give rise to general mechanisms that promote the coexistence between invasive and native desert winter annual plants in the Sonoran Desert. Besides addressing one of the fundamental questions in ecology, it also foster our understanding of how environmental variation and scale dependency influence the dynamics of biological invasions, thus providing practical solutions to managing local invasive species."