Event Detail

Event Type: 
Mathematical Biology Seminar
Wednesday, May 29, 2019 - 12:00 to 12:50
Kidder 237

Speaker Info

Oregon State University, IB

Most organisms exist in seasonal environments where energy and nutrients change with temperature, rainfall, and other factors. While seasonal environments certainly influence organisms by shaping phenology and other life history components, biotic interactions among species may in turn influence the availability of nutrients and energy within ecosystems. “Coupled matrix models” are a new modeling tool for exploring the complex interactions that arise in ecosystems experiencing strong seasonal effects and disturbances. Species (or guilds of species) are represented as stage-structured populations linked together via aggregate density-dependence on a central ecosystem resource, such as space or nutrient availability. Sensitivity and network analysis then allow the identification of strong and weak biotic interactions, as well as the projection of future community dynamics under novel, non-stationary environments such as those imposed by climate change. Applications using riparian vegetation and fish communities identified pairwise species interactions that impose controls on the distribution and abundance of plant and fish biomass, but also identified climate scenarios where these interactions are likely to weaken or disappear entirely. While empirical applications show promise, much theoretical work remains to be done to understand the general behavior and dynamics of these models.