Benjamin Gilbert

Benjamin Gilbert
University of Toronto | U of T · Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

PhD

About

115
Publications
36,659
Reads
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4,949
Citations
Citations since 2016
74 Research Items
3569 Citations
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20162017201820192020202120220100200300400500600
20162017201820192020202120220100200300400500600
Introduction
Benjamin Gilbert currently works at the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto. Benjamin does research in Ecology.
Additional affiliations
January 2011 - present
University of Toronto
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
October 2008 - October 2010
University of California, Santa Barbara
Position
  • PostDoc Position
January 2004 - September 2008
University of British Columbia - Vancouver
Position
  • PhD

Publications

Publications (115)
Preprint
Identifying determinants of global infectious disease burden is a central goal of disease ecology. While it is widely accepted that host diversity structures parasite diversity and prevalence across large spatial scales, the influence of vector diversity on disease risk has rarely been examined despite the role of vectors as obligatory intermediate...
Article
Models applying space-for-time substitution, including those projecting ecological responses to climate change, generally assume an elevational and latitudinal equivalence that is rarely tested. However, a mismatch may lead to different capacities for providing climatic refuge to dispersing species. We compiled community data on zooplankton, ectoth...
Article
Global changes can lead to species declines and extinctions through their impacts on species habitats at two distinct spatial scales: habitat destruction, where individual habitat patches are destroyed by land‐use change or natural disasters, and habitat degradation, where larger‐scale changes such as nitrogen deposition or climate change lower mea...
Preprint
Allee effects are common to diverse taxa but their consequences for coexistence are poorly understood. Recent studies suggest they cause priority effects through ‘inverse’, or positive, density dependence when a population is at low density, but mathematical theory suggests more outcomes are possible. We develop a simple and generalizable competiti...
Article
Restoration ecology commonly seeks to reestablish species of interest in degraded habitats. Despite a rich understanding of how succession influences reestablishment, there are several outstanding questions that remain unaddressed: are short‐term abundances sufficient to determine long‐term reestablishment success, and what factors contribute to un...
Article
Drought is an important stressor that affects plant growth, survival and physiology and, through plant responses, alters plant–herbivore interactions and herbivore population dynamics. Short-term drought can occur at different times during a growing season, affecting herbivore populations and plants at various stages of development and growth. As p...
Preprint
Full-text available
Restoration success is often measured by comparing target species abundance between restored and reference populations. Abundance may poorly predict long-term success, however, because seed addition may initially inflate restored population abundances, and reference population abundances may fluctuate with environmental variation. A demographic app...
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• Maternal environmental effects create lagged population responses to past environments. Although they are ubiquitous and vary in expression across taxa, it remains unclear if and how their presence alters competitive interactions in ecological communities. • Here, we use a discrete-time competition model to simulate how maternal effects alter com...
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A Correction to this paper has been published: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-20997-9.
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Functional traits determine an organism's performance in a given environment and as such determine which organisms will be found where. Species respond to local conditions, but also to larger scale gradients, such as climate. Trait ecology links these responses of species to community composition and species distributions. Yet, we often do not know...
Preprint
Full-text available
Functional traits determine an organism’s performance in a given environment and as such determine which organisms will be found where. Species respond to local conditions, but also to larger scale gradients, such as climate. Trait ecology links these responses of species to community composition and species distributions. Yet, we often do not know...
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Eutrophication is a widespread environmental change that usually reduces the stabilizing effect of plant diversity on productivity in local communities. Whether this effect is scale dependent remains to be elucidated. Here, we determine the relationship between plant diversity and temporal stability of productivity for 243 plant communities from 42...
Article
Do species and functional trait diversity respond similarly to deterministic and random processes? Theory predicts that the contributions of random and deterministic processes to species diversity depend on patch size. Smaller patches are more strongly influenced by random sampling effects, by having fewer individuals, as well as ecological drift,...
Article
Human‐assisted introductions of exotic species are a leading cause of anthropogenic change in biodiversity; however, context dependencies and interactions with co‐occurring stressors impede our ability to predict their ecological impacts. The legacy of historical sportfish stocking in mountainous regions of western North America creates a unique, n...
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Recent years have seen significant progress in understanding the impact of host community assemblage on disease risk, yet diversity in disease vectors has rarely been investigated. Using published malaria and mosquito surveys from Kenya, we analyzed the relationship between malaria prevalence and multiple axes of mosquito diversity: abundance, spec...
Article
Aim Climate variability threatens to destabilize production in many ecosystems. Asynchronous species dynamics may buffer against such variability when a decrease in performance by some species is offset by an increase in performance of others. However, high climatic variability can eliminate species through stochastic extinctions or cause similar s...
Article
Ecological theory produces opposing predictions about whether differences in the timing of life-history transitions, or "phenology," promote or limit coexistence. Phenological separation is predicted to create temporal niche differences, increasing coexistence, yet phenological separation could also competitively favor one species, increasing fitne...
Article
1. Managers often have incomplete information with which to make decisions about threatened species management, and lack the time or funding needed to obtain complete information. Value of Information (VOI) analysis can assist managers in deciding whether to manage using current information or monitor to reduce uncertainty before managing. However,...
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Identifying ecological drivers of disease transmission is central to understanding disease risks. For vector-borne diseases, temperature is a major determinant of transmission because vital parameters determining the fitness of parasites and vectors are highly temperature-sensitive, including the extrinsic incubation period required for parasites t...
Article
The distribution of biodiversity depends on the combined and interactive effects of ecological and evolutionary processes. The joint contribution of these processes has focused almost exclusively on deterministic effects, even though mechanisms that increase the importance of random ecological processes are expected to also increase the importance...
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Locally abundant species are usually widespread, and this pattern has been related to properties of the niches and traits of species. However, such explanations fail to account for the potential of traits to determine species niches and often overlook statistical artefacts. Here, we examine how trait distinctiveness determines the abilities of spec...
Article
According to the invasion criterion, stable coexistence requires that all species in a community increase in abundance when rare, which occurs when stabilizing mechanisms cause intraspecific competition to be stronger than interspecific competition. This simple principle has traditionally been applied to tests of local coexistence in a narrow range...
Article
Trait variation underlies our understanding of the patterns and importance of biodiversity, yet we have a poor understanding of how variation at different levels of biological organization structures communities and ecosystems. Here we use a mesocosm experiment to test for the effects of a larval dragonfly functional trait on community and ecosyste...
Preprint
Full-text available
Ecological theory produces opposing predictions about whether differences in the timing of life history transitions, or 'phenology', promote or limit coexistence. Phenological separation is predicted to create temporal niche differences, increasing coexistence, yet phenological separation may competitively favour one species, increasing fitness dif...
Article
Full-text available
Modern coexistence theory is increasingly used to explain how differences between competing species lead to coexistence versus competitive exclusion. Although research testing this theory has focused on deterministic cases of competitive exclusion, in which the same species always wins, mounting evidence suggests that competitive exclusion is often...
Article
Species do not live, interact, or evolve in isolation but are instead members of complex ecological communities. In ecological terms, complex multispecies interactions can be understood by considering indirect effects that are mediated by changes in traits and abundances of intermediate species. Interestingly, traits and abundances are also central...
Article
1.The fitness of individual species depends on their ability to persist and establish at low densities, just as the diversity of ecological communities depends on the establishment and persistence of low‐density, ‘invader’ species. Theory predicts that abiotic conditions and the competitive make‐up of resident communities jointly shape invader fitn...
Article
Dispersers are often assumed to have the mean phenotype observed across the entire metapopulation, despite growing evidence of dispersal–phenotype correlations. We examined three dispersal–phenotype correlations in Green Frogs (Rana clamitans Latreille, 1801 = Lithobates clamitans (Latreille, 1801)). Two were in traits that have been previously tie...
Article
'Filtering', or the reduction in species diversity that occurs because not all species can persist in all locations, is thought to unfold hierarchically, controlled by the environment at large scales and competition at small scales. However, the ecological effects of competition and the environment are not independent, and observational approaches...
Article
Urbanization is an important component of global change. Urbanization affects species interactions, but the evolutionary implications are rarely studied. We investigate the evolutionary consequences of a common pattern: the loss of high trophic‐level species in urban areas. Using a gall‐forming fly, Eurosta solidaginis, and its natural enemies that...
Article
Differential maternal provisioning of offspring in response to environmental conditions has been argued as ‘the missing link’ in plant life histories. Although empirical evidence suggests that maternal provisioning responses to abiotic conditions are common, there is little understanding of how differences in maternal provisioning manifest in respo...
Preprint
Full-text available
Filtering, or the reduction in species diversity that occurs because not all species can persist in all locations, is thought to unfold hierarchically, at large scales due to the environment and at small scales due to competition. However, the ecological effects of competition and the environment are not independent, and observational approaches pr...
Article
Significance Ecology aims to understand the distribution of species and the processes that assemble communities. One common strategy is to use species traits to predict interaction with the abiotic and biotic environment, thus gaining an understanding of ecological communities. Here, we show that considering causal relationships among physiological...
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1.Functional traits are commonly used in predictive models that link environmental drivers and community structure to ecosystem functioning. A prerequisite is to identify robust sets of continuous axes of trait variation, and to understand the ecological and evolutionary constraints that result in the functional trait space occupied by interacting...
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Full-text available
The question of when to monitor and when to act is fundamental to applied ecology and notoriously difficult to answer. Value of information (VOI) theory holds great promise to help answer this question for many management problems. However, VOI theory in applied ecology has only been demonstrated in single-decision problems and has lacked explicit...
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The order of species arrival at a site can determine the outcome of competitive interactions when early arrivers alter the environment or deplete shared resources. These priority effects are predicted to be stronger at high temperatures, as higher vital rates caused by warming allow early arrivers to more rapidly impact a shared environment. We tes...
Preprint
Full-text available
Maternal provisioning of offspring in response to environmental conditions (“maternal environmental effects”) has been argued as ‘the missing link’ in plant life histories. Although empirical evidence suggests that maternal responses to abiotic conditions are common, there is little understanding of the prevalence of maternal provisioning in compet...
Article
Full-text available
Species interactions are central to our understanding of population dynamics. While density typically strengthens competition, reducing absolute fitness, Allee effects can reverse this pattern, increasing fitness with density. Allee effects emerge in host–parasite systems when higher parasite densities dilute immune responses or increase resource-m...
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Full-text available
Species interactions are central to our understanding of ecological communities, but may change rapidly with the introduction of invasive species. Invasive species can alter species interactions and community dynamics directly by having larger detrimental effects on some species than others, or indirectly by changing the ways in which native specie...
Article
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High latitude communities have low species richness and are rapidly warming with climate change. Thus, temporal changes in community composition are expected to be greatest at high latitudes. However, at the same time traits such as body size can also change with latitude, potentially offsetting or increasing changes to community composition over t...
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Conflicting hypotheses predict how traits mediate species establishment and community assembly. Traits of newly establishing individuals are predicted to converge, or be more similar to the resident, preexisting community, when the biotic or abiotic environment favors a single best phenotype, but are predicted to diverge when trait differences redu...
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Ecological drift causes species abundances to fluctuate randomly, lowering diversity within communities and increasing differences among otherwise equivalent communities. Despite broad interest in ecological drift, ecologists have little experimental evidence of its consequences in nature, where competitive forces modulate species abundances. We ma...
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In metacommunities, diversity is the product of species interactions at the local scale and dispersal between habitat patches at the regional scale. Although warming can alter both species interactions and dispersal, the combined effects of warming on these two processes remains uncertain. To determine the independent and interactive effects of war...
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Trophic interactions are likely to change under climate warming. These interactions can be altered directly by changing consumption rates, or indirectly by altering growth rates and size asymmetries among individuals that in turn affect feeding. Understanding these processes is particularly important for intraspecific interactions, as direct and in...
Article
Significance Biological communities differ dramatically in numbers and identities of species, a pattern that could be explained by many mechanisms that each vary with spatial scale. Testing how ecological mechanisms transition among scales is key to understanding the maintenance of diversity but is infeasible in most systems. In a natural plant com...
Chapter
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Landscape ecology is the study of interactions between spatial landscape patterns and ecological processes, typically examining real landscapes at broad spatial scales. Metacommunity ecology focuses more specifically on how spatial processes alter species interactions and typically involves a localized spatial extent and more abstracted spatial lan...
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Theory describing the positive effects of patch size and connectivity on diversity in fragmented systems has stimulated a large body of empirical work, yet predicting when and how local species interactions mediate these responses remains challenging. We used insects that specialize on milkweed plants as a model metacommunity to investigate how loc...
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We examined two measures of shade tolerance (survival and growth) of planted 1-year-old seedlings of western redcedar (Thuja plicata (Donn ex D. Don)), western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla ([Raf.] Sarg.)) and amabilis fir (Abies amabilis ([Dougl. ex Loud] Dougl. ex Forbes)). Seedlings were planted at two different sites (forest interior: 4.5% mean a...
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Full-text available
Fragmentation and resultant changes in patch size are predicted to alter species diversity and community composition, yet the consequences of these differences for species interactions are poorly understood. Theory predicts that predators are more sensitive to fragmentation than their prey, resulting in greater predator loss in small patches. Preda...
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The ecological niche is a multi-dimensional concept including aspects of resource use, environmental tolerance, and interspecific interactions, and the degree to which niches overlap is central to many ecological questions. Plant phenotypic traits are increasingly used as surrogates of species niches, but we lack an understanding of how key samplin...
Article
Full-text available
The PREDICTS project—Projecting Responses of Ecological Diversity In Changing Terrestrial Systems (www.predicts.org.uk)—has collated from published studies a large, reasonably representative database of comparable samples of biodiversity from multiple sites that differ in the nature or intensity of human impacts relating to land use. We have used t...
Data
The PREDICTS project—Projecting Responses of Ecological Diversity In Changing Terrestrial Systems (www.predicts.org.uk)—has collated from published studies a large, reasonably representative database of comparable samples of biodiversity from multiple sites that differ in the nature or intensity of human impacts relating to land use. We have used t...
Article
Full-text available
Theory describing the positive effects of patch size and connectivity on diversity in fragmented systems has stimulated a large body of empirical work, yet predicting when and how local species interactions mediate these responses remains challenging. We used insects that specialize on milkweed plants as a model metacommunity to investigate how loc...
Article
Full-text available
Scientists now recognize the importance of species interactions for range shifts, but lack general predictions about when and how species interactions influence shifts. The ‘biotic envelopes’ of plant species are defined by inter-specific interactions that influence their range limits. Two prominent hypotheses describe the biotic envelopes of plant...
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Full-text available
There has been a recent rise in the number of experiments investigating the effect of dispersal on diversity, with many of the predictions for these tests derived from metacommunity theory. Despite the promise of linking observed relationships between dispersal and diversity to underlying metacommunity processes, empirical studies have faced challe...
Article
Patch size and isolation are predicted to alter both species diversity and evolution; yet, there are few empirical examples of eco-evolutionary feedback in metacommunities. We tested three hypotheses about eco-evolutionary feed-back in a gall-forming fly, Eurosta solidaginis and two of its natural enemies that select for opposite traits: (i) specia...
Article
Full-text available
Patch size and isolation are predicted to alter both species diversity and evolution; yet, there are few empirical examples of eco-evolutionary feedback in metacommunities. We tested three hypotheses about eco-evolutionary feedback in a gall-forming fly, Eurosta solidaginis and two of its natural enemies that select for opposite traits: (i) special...
Article
Full-text available
Evolutionary biologists since Darwin have hypothesized that closely related species compete more intensely and are therefore less likely to coexist. However, recent theory posits that species diverge in two ways: either through the evolution of ‘stabilizing differences’ that promote coexistence by causing individuals to compete more strongly with c...
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Aim Approaches to calculating beta diversity (β) include classical measures based on alpha (α) and gamma (γ) diversity, and multivariate distance-based measures. Species-area relationships cause measurements of γ to vary, making comparisons of classical β among regions contingent on sampling effort. A recent null modelling approach attempts to acco...
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1.In seasonal climates, dormancy is a common strategy that structures biodiversity and is necessary for the persistence of many species. Climate change will likely alter dormancy dynamics in zooplankton, the basis of aquatic food webs, by altering two important hatching cues: mean temperatures during the ice-free season, and mean day length when la...
Data
Full-text available