PhD Oral Defence of Shaun Turney, Natural Resource Sciences
Ecological communities are complex, and this complexity can obscure their underlying patterns and natural laws. One way to understand communities is to summarize their most important characteristics using consistent measures. Community structure is a set of measures of composition, abundance, distribution, and interaction that describe an ecological community over space and time. Trophic structure is an important aspect of community structure, and relates to energy and nutrient flow, especially the distribution of organisms across trophic levels. The objective of this thesis is to investigate determinants of trophic and community structure, including latitude, ecosystem type, biome transition, community composition, and body size.