My research focuses on trophic interactions within the rocky shore communities of New England and how biotic and abiotic stress can influence species interactions, trophic transfer efficiency, and other properties of food webs. For example, how do predation risk and physical stress alter consumer-resource interactions? Can new advances in our understanding of the non-lethal effects of predators and physical stress further inform traditional ecological models (i.e., Environmental Stress Models)?
I spend my summers along the rocky shores of the Gulf of Maine conducting large scale field experiments with predatory green crabs (Carcinus maenas), dogwhelks (Nucella lapillus), mussels (Mytilus edulis), and barnacles (Semibalanus balanoides) addressing these types of questions.
Matassa, C.M. and G.C. Trussell. 2011. Landscape of fear influences the relative importance of consumptive and nonconsumptive predator effects. Ecology 92: 2258-2266.
Trussell, G.C., C.M. Matassa, B. Luttbeg. 2011. The effects of variable predation risk on foraging and growth: Less risk is not necessarily better. Ecology 92:1799-1806.
Matassa, C.M. 2010. Purple sea urchins Strongylocentrotus purpuratus reduce grazing rates in response to risk cues from the spiny lobster Panulirus interruptus. Marine Ecology Progress Series 400:283-288.
Trussell, G. C., P. J. Ewanchuk, and C. M. Matassa. 2008. Resource identity modifies the influence of predation risk on ecosystem function. Ecology 89:2798-2807.
Trussell, G. C., P. J. Ewanchuk, and C. M. Matassa. 2006. Habitat effects on the relative importance of trait- and density-mediated indirect interactions. Ecology Letters 9:1245-1252.
Trussell, G. C., P. J. Ewanchuk, and C. M. Matassa. 2006. The fear of being eaten reduces energy transfer in a simple food chain. Ecology 87:2979-2984.