Tropical insect-plant interactions in the Anthropocene

Join us on November 15th for a talk by Dr. Erin Kuprewicz on tropical insect-plant interactions. Starting at 6:30 we will share a pizza dinner in the BioPhysics building lobby at UConn. At 7:30 we will have a brief business meeting immediately followed by Dr. Kuprewicz presentation. Details are as follows.

ABSTRACT: Plant-animal interactions are exceedingly complex and vital to the maintenance of healthy, intact ecosystems, especially in the tropics. In this talk I will present several field and laboratory experiments that investigate the vital roles insects play as seed dispersers and predators in various tropical ecosystems. The positive and negative effects invertebrates have on seeds and seedlings have the potential to scale up through populations and communities to inordinately impact tropical ecosystems in a rapidly-changing world.

BIO: I am a tropical ecologist who studies plant-animal interactions and how they scale up to affect forest communities in a changing world. I have research programs in Costa Rica and México examining how terrestrial granivores facilitate (via seed dispersal) or prevent (via seed predation) plant range expansions to outpace upslope ecosystem shifts expected as the climate rapidly warms. In the Madre de Dios region of Perú, I am investigating how hunting of terrestrial seed dispersers affects carbon storage in adult trees via disruptions in seed-to-seedling transitions. I am especially interested in using field experiments to understand how seed-eating animals (vertebrates and invertebrates) interact with seeds and seedlings spanning suites of traits and how flexible ecological interactions affect plant survival and spread in biodiverse ecosystems.

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