The energy available to species (environmental productivity) is considered as a universal correlate of species richness. The Equilibrium Theory of Biodiversity Dynamics (ETBD, Storch et al. 2018, Storch & Okie 2019) assumes that the key process driving species richness patterns is extinction which depends both on productivity levels and their fluctuations, since these effects directly affect the probability of population extinction. Nevertheless, most species-productivity studies are only contemporary or cover relatively short temporal gradients. Therefore, the question whether past environmental fluctuations represent just a factor which increases extinction rates and thus affect long-term diversity levels, or if diversity levels themselves track changes in resource levels, is unresolved, despite its importance for predicting future diversity dynamics.
The candidate is expected to analyze large-scale data on plant pollen species distributions, contemporary plant species distribution, species functional traits and climatic data to test the effect of productivity and productivity fluctuation on diversity both in time and in space. Skills in statistics, programming abilities (R) and plant ecology are expected, although the focus of the candidate could be accomodated based on her/his exact skills and interests.
Five relevant publications of the research group:
Storch D. & Okie J. (2019). The carrying capacity for species richness. Global Ecology and Biogeography 28: 1519-1532.
Storch D. Šímová I. Smyčka J. Bohdalková E. Toszogyova A. & Okie J.G. 2021. Biodiversity dynamics in the Anthropocene: How human activities change equilibria of species richness. Ecography 44: doi: 10.1111/ecog.05778.
Bohdalková E., Toszogyova A., Šímová I. & Storch D. 2021. Universality in biodiversity patterns: Variation in species-temperature and species-productivity relationships reveals a prominent role of productivity in diversity gradients. Ecography 44: 1366-1378.
Šímová I. & Storch D. (2017). The enigma of terrestrial primary productivity: measurements, models, scales and the diversity-productivity relationship. Ecography 40: 239-252.
Toszogyova A. & Storch D. (2019). Global diversity patterns are modulated by temporal fluctuations in primary productivity. Global Ecology and Biogeography 28: 1827-1838.