Dr. Fryxell's research focuses on interactions between behaviour and consumer-resource dynamics. A mix of theoretical and empirical approaches is used to consider the dynamics of specific systems. Theoretical questions of interest include herbivore and carnivore movement in relation to resource a...
Dr. Fryxell's research focuses on interactions between behaviour and consumer-resource dynamics. A mix of theoretical and empirical approaches is used to consider the dynamics of specific systems. Theoretical questions of interest include herbivore and carnivore movement in relation to resource availability and predation risk, optimal diet, patch selection, and dispersal patterns in heterogeneous environments, the effect of social interference and territoriality on consumer-resource interactions.
Empirical work has been concentrated on three different terrestrial ecosystems over the past decade: large herbivores and carnivores in Serengeti National Park (Tanzania), woodland caribou, wolves, and moose in boreal forests of northern Ontario (Canada), and mustelid carnivores and other small mammals in boreal forests of northern Ontario. In each case, Fryxell and his graduate students conduct detailed field and experimental studies of the behavioural ecology of both predators and prey. Theoretical models are then used to assess the implications of behavioural strategies on population and community dynamics and model predictions are then tested against long-term observational data from terrestrial ecosystems. Fryxell is working collaboratively with the NINA modelling movement and the long-term population viability of domesticated and wild reindeer in Norway.
Along with Dr. Kevin McCann (Department of Integrative Biology), Fryxell initiated a collaborative research program on spatial food web dynamics of phytoplankton and zooplankton populations in massive aquatic mesocosms in the new Limnotron facility at the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario. Initial experiments are testing ecosystem responses of zooplankton and algal populations to the nutrient influx, calcium decline and temperature change. Fryxell and McCann are also interested in the impact of resource- and density-dependent diffusion patterns by zooplankton and phytoplankton on spatial pattern formation and ecosystem resilience.
An ongoing applied research interest relates to the sustainable harvesting of fish and mammal populations. Key questions relate to the long-term stability of harvested populations due to dynamic variation in harvester effort, effects of bioeconomic dynamics on the long-term stability of fish stocks and prices, and spatial processes in harvested populations with and without no-harvest reserves. Fryxell is also part of a large collaborative team in Norway composed of scientists from NTNU, the University of Oslo, and the University of Tromso on sustainable harvesting in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems in relation to climate change.