copyright brian silliman lab
Current Research Topics
Community Ecology of Coastal Ecosystems - My current research is focused on developing models and experiments to examine the relative importance of different members of predator assemblages for regulating consumer populations in coastal foodwebs (sea grasses and salt marshes). Specifically, I will examine 1) size and density dependent species interactions and the feedbacks between “bottom up” and “top down” processes, 2) the roles of species and functional diversity for the maintenance of the ecosystem, and 3) how temperature variability associated with global climate change will influence these processes.
Foraging Theory – I also have long standing interest in foraging theory. Understanding consumer-resource interactions is important because changes in the distribution, abundance and phenotype of consumers or their resources can have cascading effects that propagate through ecosystems (e.g. trophic cascades). Much of my research on predator-prey interactions has focused on predator functional responses, because they link predator and prey population dynamics. My research in this area has focused primarily on understanding; 1) the role size-dependence in predator prey interactions, and 2) on quantification of multiple predator and prey interactions.
Cross-ecosystem Interactions - Another core interest of mine is on understanding the links among ecosystems that are created by the sequential nature of complex life cycles. Ontogenetic habitat shifts provide recurrent links (e.g. via metamorphosis and reproduction) between food webs in dissimilar community types. Such cross-ecosystem interactions can generate indirect interaction chains than span across ecosystem boundaries and spatial heterogeneity in the strength of top down control in recipient habitats.
Representative Publications (full complete list see link)
van Wesenbeeck , B.K., J. N. Griffin, M. van Koningsveld, K.B. Gedan, M. W. McCoy, B.R. Silliman. (In Press) Nature-based coastal defence: can biodiversity help? In Encyclopedia of Biodiversity, 2nd Edition. Ed. Simon Levin. Princeton Univeristy Press.
McCoy, M.W., B.M. Bolker, K. Warkentin, and J.R. Vonesh. (2011) Predicting predation through prey ontogeny using size-dependent functional response models American Naturalist 177 (6): 752-766.
McCoy, M.W., Altieri A.H., Holdredge, C., Thomsen, M.S., and B.R. Silliman. (In Press). A Review of Facilitation and Future Research Needs, In USourcebook for Theoretical EcologyU, Hastings, A. and Gross, L. Eds, UC Press.
McCoy, M.W., M. Barfield, and R.D. Holt. (2009). Predator shadows: Complex life histories as generators of spatially patterned indirect interactions across ecosystems – Oikos 118: 87-100.
McCoy, M.W., and J.F. Gillooly. (2008) Predicting natural mortality rates in plants and animals. Ecology Letters 11: 710-716
McCoy, M.W., B. M. Bolker. (2008) Trait-mediated interactions: influence of prey size density and experience. Journal of Animal Ecology 77(3): 478-486
McCoy, M.W. (2007). Conspecific density determines the magnitude and character of predator-induced phenotype. Oecologia 153:871–878
McCoy, M.W., B.M. Bolker, C.W. Osenberg, B. Miner, and J.R Vonesh. (2006) Size correction: comparing morphological traits among populations and environments. Oecologia 148 (4): 547-554
Michael W McCoy, PhD
Post Doctoral Fellow
Department of Biology
University of Florida
I am a quantitative ecologist with interests in the development and application of experimental and statistical approaches that improve our ability to estimate biological effects and that link empirical data to ecological and evolutionary theory. I address questions across different levels of biological organization and spatial and temporal scales. In my core research, I take a mechanistic approach to understand how individual traits (e.g. size, stage and phenotype) scale up to influence population and community level processes and spatial coupling across ecosystems. I have worked in both temperate and tropical climates and in terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems.