Tuesday 3 February 2015

BioMaths Colloquia - 06/02/2015

BioMaths Colloquium Series - 2014/15

06 February 2015 - 3pm

Maths Seminar Room (room 224 Talbot Building 2nd floor)

Stochastic models in community ecology

Dr. Stephen Cornell

from: Rosinder & Cornell 2009

After the Christmas Break, our BioMaths Colloquium series resumes with a talk by Dr Stephen Cornell from the Institute of Integrative Biology at the University of Liverpool. Stephen is a mathematical ecologist with a keen interest in understanding the mechanisms driving the dynamics of ecological communities and spatial variation in biodiversity.


One of the most fundamental questions in biology is: how do so many species manage to coexist, given that the interactions between them are usually antagonistic? Mathematical models play a key role in answering this question, and are of timely importance for predicting how ecological systems will react to global change. I shall discuss stochastic models of community assembly based on demographic processes (births, deaths, dispersal), which can be tested against a variety of ecological patterns including species abundance distributions and species-area relationships. 

Simple “Neutral” models (that assume ecological interactions to be independent of species identity) can successfully predict some of these patterns, but require unrealistic assumptions about the underlying biological processes. I shall discuss how to incorporate more realistic mechanisms - such as spatial structure, protracted speciation, and non-neutral interactions - without sacrificing mathematical tractability.

The discussions will continue over biscuits and tea/coffee after the seminar. 
Hope to see many of you!

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