Mr Jamie Regan Stavert

BSc, PGDipSci, MSc (first class hons)

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Doctoral Candidate - Doctor of Philosophy

Research | Current

 

PhD Project: Biodiversity and ecosystem function: the importance of trait diversity

My current PhD work seeks to investigate how the diversity and composition of functional traits within biological communities drives and sustains ecosystem function. Understanding the biodiversity-ecosystem function relationship is becoming increasingly critical as the human population continues to grow, mounting pressure on natural resources and thus biological communities. Functional diversity is a key component of biodiversity, directly quantifying the value and range of species traits that determine their contribution to ecosystem processes and response to environmental change.

Animal-mediated pollination is a critical ecosystem function and service. Animals are responsible for pollinating about 85% of the world’s plant species, including a majority of food crops. Worldwide honey bees Apis mellifera are currently the predominant crop pollinators, however honey bee decline means reliance on this single species for pollination is becoming increasingly risky. Accordingly, maintaining diverse pollinator communities may be critical for providing insurance against future honey bee declines. Pollinator communities that are more diverse should provide more efficient and stable pollination.

My PhD research uses a model system (pollination) and a multi-scale experimental approach to test hypotheses concerning the biodiversity-ecosystem function relationship. I plan to 1) use targeted plantings along an environmental disturbance gradient to assess changes in pollinator functional trait composition and diversity, measuring the resulting functional output, and 2) use mesocosms to manipulate pollinator community composition, to determine how functional evenness influences plant-pollinator network dynamics and functional output.

Postgraduate supervision

Assoc. Prof. Jacqueline Beggs

Dr Anne Gaskett

Dr David Pattemore (Plant and Food Research)

Dr Ignasi Bartomeus (EBD-CSIC, Doñana Biological Station, Seville) 

Distinctions/Honours

University of Auckland Doctoral Scholarship

Marian Cranwell Prize - Best thesis in ecological science

University of Auckland Faculty of Science Masters Award

Areas of expertise

Ecology, Biodiversity, Ecosystem Function, Pollination Biology

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)