Embracing historical contingency in ecological community assembly: current status of the field and some insights from nectar microbes
The history of species arrival can be a major determinant of the structure and function of ecological communities over ecological and evolutionary time. This historical contingency, called priority effects, is often viewed as a nuisance that hinders progress in community ecology. In my talk, I will argue that this view is misguided and discuss how we can embrace historical contingency to better understand community structure and function. As an illustrative example, I will present some recent and ongoing work on microbial communities that develop in floral nectar.