Variability in abiotic conditions such as light, nutrients, temperature, dissolved oxygen, and precipitation drive differences in resource availability in time and space. Seasonality is a common temporal driver of food-web structure and function, while habitat heterogeneity influences food-webs by creating spatial resource asynchronies. At larger time scales, important interannual variation may result from other drivers such as the El Niño-Southern Oscillation cycle and climate change. This variation drives spatial and temporal dynamics of species composition, consumer-resource interactions, and other emergent food-web properties. However, most food webs have been treated as static or rather “snapshots” in space and time, largely because of the logistics and complexities in building spatially and temporally explicit food webs. This session aims to address advances in our understanding of: 1) patterns  of spatiotemporal variability, 2) drivers of spatiotemporal variation, and 3) consequences of spatiotemporal heterogeneity in aquatic food webs for management, conservation, and restoration.


  • Peter Flood, Florida International University, [email protected]
  • Bradley Strickland, Virginia Institute of Marine Science
  • Matthew Woodstock, Morgan State University Patuxent Environmental and Aquatic Research Laboratory