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Congratulations - Van Savage research group in Nature article May 30, 2012

Congratulations - Van Savage research group in Nature article

Congratulations to (L to R) Tony Dell, Van Savage and Sam Pawar. Their article “Dimensionality of consumer search space drives trophic interaction strengths” was just published in Nature <http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature11131.html#/f4> and nicely featured and summarized in the UCLA Newsroom <http://newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/ucla-life-scientists-view-biodiversity-234522.aspx>. In developing a novel biomathematical model and testing it on the largest-ever database on relationships between feeding rates and body size, their research demonstrates for the first time that the relationship between animals' body size and feeding rate is largely determined by the dimensionality of the space in which they search for their food. They also makes predictions that the tendency for animals to consume more in three dimensions than they would in two dimensions can lead more often to boom-and-bust cycles in species abundance, making them more prone to extinction. The new findings even suggest crucial differences in how climate change will affect ecosystems that are more two dimensional, such as land and water surfaces, and those that are three dimensional, such as the open ocean or air. [However, we wonder: could this model be tested during our welcoming lunch for incoming students this Fall? Stay tuned.]