Kane Keller

About Kane Keller

Kane is a community ecologist who studies how mutualisms and intraspecific variation in the mutualist species can influence community and ecosystem functioning.

Ants aiding ants on Acacia

A regular theme on this blog (here, here, here, etc…) is how fascinated all of our contributors are by the factors that promote and maintain biodiversity. Personally, I am really into some of these such as positive interactions between species, such as mutualisms (like the legume-rhizobium mutualism I study) and facilitative effects between species. In some systems, negative interactions between species can result in indirect facilitation of other species by … Continue reading

No return of diversity?

In the past few decades, there has been an increasing concern and therefore research into the eutrophication of natural ecosystems caused by high levels of nitrogen addition. Some studies, such as Foster and Gross 1998 and Clark and Tilman 2008 (among others), have shown that nitrogen fertilization leads to a decrease in the diversity of communities. However, the long-term consequences of these actions are not well understood. How quickly do the nitrogen … Continue reading

Adaptive Radiation Constrained By Niche Availability

Understanding why there are so many species is an essential question in biology that continues to generate considerable curiosity and drive evolutionary research. Moreover, people seek to understand how species that are closely related can reside in very different niches and co-occur in areas. Darwin observed such an adaptive radiation with finches in the Galapagos, where the species of birds differ in the size and shape of their beaks, allowing … Continue reading

Communities Can Be Keystone Too

Since Paine’s classic work in the rocky intertidal describing the effects of Pisaster  starfish on the community as a keystone predator species, the concept has become huge to ecology. A keystone species is one with an important role in the community and has a larger effect on the community than would be expected by its abundance. In the rocky intertidal, when starfish were removed from the system, the population size … Continue reading