Invited Seminar at CES on 31 October 2023 at 10:00 am titled "Periodical cicadas disrupt trophic dynamics through community-level shifts in avian foraging" by Martha Weiss from Georgetown University

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Periodical cicadas disrupt trophic dynamics through community-level shifts in avian foraging
Martha Weiss, Georgetown University
Date & Time: 
31 Oct 2023 - 10:00am
Event Type: 
Invited Seminar
CES Seminar Hall, 3rd Floor, Biological Sciences Building
Before the talk

Once every 13 or 17 years within eastern North American deciduous forests, billions of periodical cicadas concurrently emerge from the soil and briefly satiate a diverse array of naive consumers, offering a rare opportunity to assess the cascading impacts of an ecosystem-wide resource pulse on a complex food web. We quantified the effects of the 2021 Brood X emergence and report that more than 80 bird species opportunistically switched their foraging to include cicadas, releasing herbivorous insects from predation and essentially doubling both caterpillar densities and accumulated herbivory levels on host oak trees. These short-lived but massive emergence events help us to understand how resource pulses can rewire interaction webs and disrupt energy flows in ecosystems, with potentially long-lasting effects. (And India has the world’s only other reported species of periodical cicadas!)