The timing of events is critical to the assembly of biological systems. In physiology, the circadian rhythm closely links geophysical time to an individual’s metabolism. In developmental biology, dramatic morphological changes associated with different phyla are driven by temporal variation in conserved gene expression. And in evolutionary biology, rapid insect speciation intimately follows the timing of flowering plant radiations. Assembly and stability of ecological systems are similarly dependent on the sequence at which species colonize. Many ecosystems exhibit repeated periods of development due to disturbance, seasonally regenerating habitats, and pulsed arrivals of juvenile organisms. During assembly, early arriving species can monopolize resources or alter the abiotic environment producing long lasting effects on ecosystem structure, stability, and function. Our work examines how the sequence and timing of species arrival drives the the rate, pathway, and extent of ecosystem recovery follow disturbance. 

Selected Publications


Stier A.C.=, Hein A. M.=, Parravicini V.‡, and M. Kulbicki M.‡. 2014 Biogeography Drives Marine Food Web Structure. Nature Communications. 5. doi:10.1038/ncomms6575. PDF

Stier A.C., K.M. Hanson, S.J. Holbrook, R.J. Schmitt, A.J. Brooks. 2014. Predation and landscape characteristics independently affect reef fish community organization. Ecology. 95: 1294-1307. PDF

Stier A.C., S.W. Geange‡, and K.M. Hanson. 2013. Predator density and timing of arrival affect reef fish community assembly. Ecology. 94(5): 1057-1068. PDF

McKeon C.S., Stier A.C., and S.E. McIlroy*, and B.M. Bolker. 2012. Multiple Defender Effects: Synergistic coral defense by exosymbiotic crustaceans. 169: 1095-1103. Oecologia. sePDF

Stier A.C. and C.W. Osenberg. 2010. Propagule redirection: habitat availability affects colonization and recruitment in reef fishes. Ecology 91 : 2826–2832. **Awarded best student paper award of 2010 UF dept. of Biology. PDF

Geange S.W.‡ and A.C. Stier. 2010. Charismatic microfauna alter cyanobacteria production through a trophic cascade. Coral Reefs. 29: 393 - 397. PDF

Heinlein J.M.*, Stier A.C., and M.A. Steele. 2010. Predators reduce abundance and species richness of coral reef fish recruits via non-selective predation.Coral Reefs. 29. 527 - 532. PDF

Geange S.W.‡ and A.C. Stier. 2010. Priority effects and habitat complexity affect the strength of competition. Oecologia. 1: 111-118. PDF