Steve Pennings

We are interested in how top-down (predation, herbivory) and bottom-up (plant quality) factors interact to produce food web structure in coastal salt marshes. Understanding these interactions requires the study of herbivore and predator behavior as it affects feeding choices and vulnerability to predation. Many of the consumers in these habitats are omnivores (consuming both plants and animals) or intra-guild predators (predators that eat other predators in addition to herbivores). As a result, the food-web impacts of these consumers depends on which of their potential foods they consume and suppress most strongly. To understand these feeding decisions, we must study the behavior of both the predators and the prey.

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