Baltimore Ecosystem Study Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2010 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

Urban Metal Subsidies Underutilized Stoichiometric Understanding
Bain, Daniel
Co-Authors: Dan Bain, Kyle Ferrar, Katelin Fisher, Mark Green, Amelia Johnson, Sujay Kaushal, Amar Mehta, Drew Michanowicz, Rich Pouyat, Andy Wreschnig, Ian Yesilonis

Abstract: Ecological stoichiometry is fundamental to understanding process across scales. However, much of the focus remains on macro-nutrient cycling and the dynamics of energy processing and growth. Organisms build structures (tissue or otherwise) for various reasons, but elemental building blocks used in these structures are not often included in examination of metabolism via elemental relationships. Yet, these "structural" elements once integrated into ecological stoichiometric studies, should provide additional insight. Urban systems are an extreme end-member in human built environments, making them logical areas of inquiry for probing ecological process with "structural" stoichiometric controls (i.e., strong signals will exist). For example, urban metal subsidies may allow advantages to organisms utilizing specific "structural" elements, shifting community structure. Or, human chemical inputs might be traced through systems by examining the chemical composition of building materials (e.g., steel or cement) and identifying characteristic stoichiometric relationships. This presentation will examine chemistry data primarily from the Baltimore Ecosystem Study to explore the application of these controls in understanding fundamental urban process.