Lines of Investigation:

Research in my lab is directed toward understanding how ecological interactions shape the response of marine shallow subtidal and rocky intertidal communities to perturbations and how pressures from changing environment and resource use alters  ecological pathways and habitat fragmentation that can result in ecosystem fragility or susceptibility to long-lasting shifts in community structure and functioning.  Our research principally focuses on four main topics: 1) Physical forcing of benthic ecosystems – particularly how changing environmental processes that operate at comparatively large scales modify the balance of positive and negative interactions among species that form local communities.  Predominant themes include bottom-up regulation by oceanographic processes (particularly upwelling), the importance of non-trophic interactions and facilitative effects (e.g. habitat modification), and the role of dispersal.  2) Significance of biological diversity for ecosystem functioning, particularly as buffer to variable environmental conditions. 3)  Ecological resistance and resilience to extreme climate events. We combine an individual-based understanding of changing vulnerability to climate fluctuations with evaluation of alteration of other “supporting” species interactions, with particular focus on highly connected species (e.g. habitat providers). 4) Biological habitat patchiness and fragmentation and its relation to transitions in ecological dynamics. In all our ecological studies, we use a combination of empirical approaches, including correlation between physical and biological variables, comparative methods, and manipulative experiments in the field and laboratory.  Thanks to recent national/international collaborations, we are also utilizing Ecological Networks to describe and compare structures of trophic and non-trophic interactions in real, complex systems and understand effects of network structure on properties such as ecosystem stability.


Selected Publications:

  • Wieters E (2005) Upwelling-control of positive interactions over mesoscales: a new link between bottom-up and top-down processes on rocky shores. Marine Ecology Progress Series 301: 43-54.
  • Wieters EA, SD Gaines, SA Navarrete, C Blanchette, & BA Menge (2008) Scales of Dispersal and the biogeography of marine predator-prey interactions. American Naturalist 171: 405-417.
  • Wieters EA, BR Broitman, & GM Branch (2009) Benthic community responses to spatio-temporal thermal regimes in two upwelling ecosystems: comparisons between South Africa and Chile. Limnology and Oceanography 54: 1060-1072.
  • Wieters EA, C McQuaid, G Palomo, P Pappalardo, & SA Navarrete (2012) Biogeographical boundaries, functional group structure and diversity of rocky shore communities along the Argentinean coast. PLoS ONE 7(11): e49725.
  • Riegl, B., PW Glynn, EA Wieters, S Purkis, C. dÁngelo, J. Wiedenmann. (2015) "Water column productivity and temperature effects predict coral reef trajectories across the Indo-Pacific". Scientific Reports, Nature. DOI:10.1038/srep08273
  • Kéfi, S., E.L. Berlow, E.A. Wieters, LN. Joppa, S.A. Wood, U. Brose, S.A. Navarrete (2015). "Network structure beyond food webs: Mapping non-trophic and trophic interactions on Chilean rocky shores". Ecology 96(1):291-303.
  • Kéfi, S., V. Miele, E.A Wieters, S.A. Navarrete, E.L. Berlow (2016). “How structured is the entangled bank? The surprisingly simple organization of multiplex ecological networks leads to increased persistence and resilience”. PLOS Biology 14 (8), e1002527.

Courses in which participates:

  • Coordinator of Research Internships and International Students