Keystone Species and Molecules of Keystone Significance

A Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Seminar presented by Richard Zimmer, Dept. of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, UCLA

Wednesday, November 07, 2012
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
LSB 2320

The keystone species concept provides a valuable framework for integrating findings across boundaries between traditional disciplines that scale from cellular mechanisms and chemosensory reception to behavioral traits and community function. Certain bioactive compounds are rare within native habitats, but their impacts can be disproportionately large and connect such seemingly disparate processes as microbial loop dynamics and apex predation. Here, a general theory is developed and mechanisms are proposed that could lead to the evolution of ‘molecules of keystone significance’. Through convergent evolution, these substances inform phylogenetically divergent organisms, initiate major trophic cascades, and structure respective communities within terrestrial, freshwater, coastal-ocean and open-ocean habitats.