Effects of intraspecific variation on species interactions

Recent research has shown that variation within species can have important community-level impacts that may even equal those of species diversity. Yet this work is only beginning to explore how specific interactions among species are affected by the degree of diversity within species. I strive to fill some of these gaps by using manipulative experiments in Massachusetts salt marshes to answer the following questions:

  • How does intraspecific diversity at both trophic levels affect plant-herbivore interactions? Does diversity at both levels feed back to affect intraspecific plant diversity?
  • How does intraspecific diversity affect competitive interactions among plants? Does it affect inter- or intraspecific competition more?