The majority of my work has been with plant and animal
communities on the temperate shorelines of the Western Atlantic,
particularly those in salt marsh and rocky intertidal habitats. I am an
experimental ecologist and employ manipulative field studies in
coastline systems to examine and unravel how patterns in natural
communities are generated and maintained. I incorporate population
(density dependence), community (multi-trophic aspects of food webs),
and ecosystem (biogeochemical cycles) level processes in my
investigations and typically design experiments with specific
conservation or management problems in mind. My primary research
focuses on how consumers (top-down forces) and nutrients (bottom-up
forces) interact to control structure and productivity of marine plant
communities. This research is particularly applicable to marine
conservation efforts because continued coastal development and
increased demand for seafood have resulted in heavy nutrient loading
and severely depleted fisheries in near-shore marine communities.
Silliman, B. R., J. van de Koppel, M. D. Bertness, L. Stanton,
and I. Mendelsohn. 2005 Drought, snails, and large-scale die-off of
southern U.S. salt marshes. Science 310:1803-1806.
Silliman, B. R. and M. D. Bertness. 2004. Shoreline
development drives invasion of Phragmites australis and the loss of New
England salt marsh plant diversity. Conservation Biology 18:1424-1434.
Silliman, B. R., C. A. Layman, K. Geyer and J. C. Zieman. 2004.
Predation by the black-clawed mud crab, Panopeus herbstii, in
mid-Atlantic salt marshes: Further evidence for top-down control of
community structure. Estuaries 27: 188-196.
Bertness, M. D., B. R. Silliman and R. Jefferies. 2004. North American
salt marshes under siege. American Scientist 92: 54-61.
Trussell, G., P. J. Ewanchuk, M. D. Bertness and B. R. Silliman. 2004.
Predator-induced changes in prey behavior drive a trophic cascade in
rocky shore tide pools. Oecologia 139:427-432.
Layman, C. A., A. Arrington, R., B. R. Silliman and B. Langerhans.
2004. Degree of fragmentation affects fish assemblage structure in
Andros Island (Bahamas) estuaries. Caribbean Journal of Science
Silliman, B. R. and S. Y. Newell. Fungal-farming in a snail. 2003.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) 100:15643-15648.
Silliman, B. R. and M. D. Bertness. 2002. A Trophic Cascade Regulates
Salt Marsh Primary Production. Proceedings of the National Academy of
Sciences (USA) 99: 10500-10505.
Silliman, B.R., M. Bertness, and D. Strong. eds. in preparation.
Anthropogenic Modification of North American Salt Marshes. University
of California Press.