I believe that many, if not most, field ecologists have, at some point, written an abstract for work which they are still doing, when the results are far from certain.
This is my vague conference abstract, and I would be delighted to hear what you think!
How do interactions between organisms shape their distributions? How do these distributions compare with the range of environmental variables in which the organisms could survive? The relationship between realized and fundamental niches is a central concept in ecology. However, experimental tests of the relative importance of tolerance to environmental variables and different kinds of species interactions are still rare.
Tropical bromeliads (Bromeliaceae) collect water and detritus in their leaves, forming habitat for a diverse community of animals, with interactions including mutualism, competition and predation. Within a single species of bromeliad, these aquatic habitats can be small () or very large (), and may occur in a many different environments, from forest understory to arid, semiopen shrubland. This environmental variation, coupled with the species interactions, provides an interesting system in which to test species the effect of species interactions on environmental interactions.
We present preliminary results from a recent field season conducted in Southern Brazil. Through a series of observations and experiments, we attempt to show how species interactions determine the distribution of species along environmental gradients in natural bromeliad ecosystems.