Research in the Toscano Lab challenges a core assumption of community ecology theory: that populations function as homogenous units in their interactions with one another and the abiotic environment. We study how individual-level phenotypic trait variation (e.g., behavior, size, morphology), the raw material for natural selection, scales up via species interactions to influence population- and community-level dynamics. Our research relies heavily on the use of mathematical theory to develop conceptual frameworks that guide lab and field experiments. We utilize model aquatic crustacean systems that allow unique insight into the mechanistic basis of effects or permit scaling to higher organizational levels. Check out our Research Projects for more information!