Date of Award

5-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

College/School

College of Science and Mathematics

Department/Program

Mathematical Sciences

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Eric Forgoston

Committee Member

Jennifer Krumins

Committee Member

Lora Billings

Subject(s)

Food chains (Ecology), Ecology--Mathematical models

Abstract

We consider a model inspired by producer-herbivore-decomposer soil food webs and determine the effect of ecological parameters on the decomposer pool. In particular, we observe how seasonal changes in the stoichiometric quality of the producer coupled with the efficiency of herbivory over the calendar year can induce a shift in the composition of the decomposer pool. Decomposers have a significant effect on the movement of essential nutrients throughout an ecosystem; we further determine how this shift between a bacterially dominated decomposer pool and a fungally dominated pool affects primary production and relative distribution of biomass of the other compartments.

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