Disentangling Trophic Interactions on Nearshore Reefs and Implications for Ecological Resilience

Robert Dunn, North Inlet-Winyah Bay NERR, University of South Carolina

14 February 2020

The interactions between predators and their prey are key drivers of structure and functioning in many ecosystems. However, the ability of predators to effectively regulate prey abundance can be strongly modified by the context in which trophic interactions occur. I will discuss the effects of four factors which can mediate trophic interactions: density, body size, habitat complexity, and fishery harvest. Working on rocky reefs in southern California, I used both experiments and models to better understand the interactions among sea urchins, their predators, and the nearshore reef-associated communities of which they are a part.