Community Ecology Lab

The Community Ecology Laboratory at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and Mary, is run by Dr. Rochelle Seitz and focuses on benthic ecology with a concentration in the dynamics of soft-sediment estuaries and coastal benthic habitats. Our goal is to address the important factors influencing benthic community structure and, in turn, the effects the benthic community has on upper trophic levels.

The Community Ecology trawl crew.

The cause of spatial and temporal variation in benthic community structure and abundance has been the focus of much recent ecological work.  The relative importance of physical and biotic factors in regulating community patterns can vary with spatial scale and the nature of the ecosystem (e.g., freshwater vs. marine). Whereas at large spatial scales bottom-up forces (e.g., food availability) are most important, at local scales top-down factors (i.e., predation) dominate. An improved understanding of consumer-resource dynamics, particularly in productive marine and estuarine systems, can aid in the management of important upper-trophic-level fisheries and improve our understanding of the joint effects of top-down and bottom-up factors in marine systems.

Current Research
Contact Us
Community Ecology, c/o Rochelle Seitz
Virginia Institute of Marine Science
P.O. Box 1346, Gloucester Pt., VA  23062-1346, USA
Telephone:  804-684-7698;  FAX:  804-684-7399