My work in early recruitment dynamics primarily focuses on recruitment processes, particularly how the strength and direction of density-dependent mortality shifts with predator foraging behavior, habitat features, and stage-structured interactions. In these studies I  have primarily used coral reef fish as a model; however, i have also worked on density-dependent dynamics in snails and corals. For example, one component of my dissertation explored how the availability and spatial arrangement of coral (i.e. focal corals adjacent or distant to other availability coral habitat) influenced spatial patterns of settlement of reef fishes. Using an experiment I found that corals in areas of high habitat availability experienced lower levels of settlement than isolated corals, suggesting neighboring habitats “compete” with focal corals, preventing settlers from reaching focal corals. I then used this experimental data to parameterize a model incorporating post-settlement competitive dynamics to show that increases in habitat availability can have much greater recruitment despite only minor increases in larval supply by reducing exploitative competition for predator-free space.


Stier A.C., ‡S.W. Geange, and B.M. Bolker. Predator density and competition modify the shape of inverse density dependence in a shoaling reef fish. In review Ecology.

Stier A.C., and C.W. Osenberg. 2010. Propagule redirection: habitat availability affects colonization and recruitment in reef fishes. Ecology 91:2826–2832. PDF. **Awarded best student paper award of 2010 UF dept. of Biology.

Stier A.C. and CP Dahlgren. Substrate type and density drive the mortality of juvenile queen conch (Strombus gigas)In review Caribbean Journal of Science.

White J.W., Samhouri J.F., Stier A.C., Wormald C.L.G, Hamilton S.L., and S.A. Sandin. 2010. Synthesizing mechanisms of density dependence in reef fishes: behavior, habitat configuration, and observational scale. Ecology. 89:2980–2985. Additional photo appendix: Fish Density on Reefs. Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America91:347–350. PDF

Geange S.W.‡G and A.CStier. 2010. Priority effects and habitat complexity affect the strength of competition. Oecologia. 1: 111-118.  PDF

Shantz A.A.*, Stier A.C., and J.A. Idjadi. 2011 Coral density and predation affect growth of a reef building coral. Coral Reefs. 30: 363 – 367. PDF