Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Forestry and Environmental Conservation
Brandon K Peoples
The goals of this thesis are twofold, 1) to review the existing literature on positive interactions, and 2) to experimentally test the role of biotic context in a freshwater reproductive interaction. First, my co-authors and I have conducted a review of positive interactions in freshwaters to establish a direction for future research. By outlining case studies and causal mechanisms, we illustrate the diversity of positive interactions, and set the stage for a comprehensive look at the role of context in shaping interaction outcomes. Our research directive focuses on the value of both basic life history and experimental research, then using those findings to investigate these interactions under different contexts, in different levels of ecosystem structure, and at multiple geographic scales. Applications of positive interactions are discussed in regards to conservation, restoration, biological invasions, and in aquaculture production. Following this review, I experimentally investigate context dependency in the nest associative interaction between two stream fishes. By using three treatments of partner density while maintaining otherwise consistent conditions, shifts in interaction outcomes can be directly attributed to context dependency. Findings are incorporated into our understanding of this novel study system, and their contribution to broader ecological theory is discussed.
Silknetter, S, Creed, RP, Brown, BL, Frimpong, EA, Skelton, J, Peoples, BK. Positive biotic interactions in freshwaters: A review and research directive. Freshwater Biology. 2020; 65: 811– 832. https://doi.org/10.1111/fwb.13476