My research interests lie in the complex interplay between individual-level variation and broader scale population and community dynamics. It is well known that natural populations are composed of individuals that differ in their phenotypic traits (e.g. behavior, physiology, morphology). However, it remains unclear how this variation scales up to affect population dynamics and community structure, and in reverse, how abiotic and biotic environments maintain and promote individual variation. In particular, my research explores the effects of individual variation on species interactions that shape patterns of abundance and distribution in nature.
This work takes place in a diversity of marine and freshwater ecosystems, using both invertebrate and vertebrate study systems (check out some photos!). I use a combination of lab and field experiments, behavioral and physiological measurements, and statistical and simulation modelling to gain insight into the consequences of individual-level variation for population and community dynamics.
I recently defended my dissertation at the University of South Carolina and will be starting a post-doctoral research position at Rice University in January. Feel free to browse my research website (a work in progress) and contact me with any questions or comments at benjamin(dot)toscano(at)gmail(dot)com. Thanks for visiting!