David Stoker

Undergraduate Researcher
Lab Manager
B.S. Ecology
Short Bio:

Resource subsidies and biodiversity are important for community structure and ecosystem processes, but the pathways through which resource subsidies and biodiversity simultaneously affect ecosystem functioning are unclear. Using detritus-based streams as a model system, we examined the top-down effects of consumer diversity on decomposition in a reciprocal transplant experiment. We found that consumer biomass was consistently the primary driver of decomposition. Biomass was stimulated by specific resource subsidies, leading to direct and indirect effects of resource subsidies on ecosystem functioning. We did not find evidence that communities were adapted to locally-derived resource subsidies. In contrast, communities with dominant and productive functional traits significantly increased decomposition, suggesting that the distribution of functional traits between communities was an important component of the decomposition process. We  show that biodiversity and resource subsidies affect community assemblages and ecosystem functioning through complex pathways, and that both consumer and resource diversity should be considered for decomposition. We also show that top-down diversity effects, mediated by consumers, can be equal in magnitude to the bottom-up effects of detrital resource characteristics.

Personal Website


Stoker, D., A.J. Falkner, K.M. Murray, A.K. Lang, T.R. Barnum, J. Hepinstall-Cymerman, M.J. Conroy, R.J. Cooper, and C.M. Pringle. Decomposition of terrestrial resource subsidies in headwater streams: Does consumer diversity matter? Ecosphere 8:e01868 [PDF]


Honors & Awards:

  • 2015 CURO Undergraduate Research Assistantship
  • 2015 Society for Freshwater Science UndergraduateTravel Award
  • 2015 Josh Laerm Memorial Outstanding Ecology Undergraduate Award
  • 2014 UGA Student Employee of the Year
  • 2013 Thelma Richardson and Frank Golley Undergraduate Support Award