Characterizing Species Interactions: The Community Matrix and Beyond  Add To Calendar

Speaker: Timothy Wootton, University of Chicago
Host: Whelan
  • Date(s): Tuesday, 3/14 12:00 PM to Tuesday, 3/14 1:00 PM
  • Campus Address: 4289 SEL, 840 West Taylor St
Abstract: Understanding and predicting how ecosystems will respond to environmental impacts such as climate change or species extinction is challenging because of the complex network of species interactions they contain, and may require the linkage of mathematical models with data to simultaneously keep track of how these interactions play out.  The Community Matrix is a long-standing mathematical conceptualization describing the pattern and strengths of interactions among species, hence is at the nexus of understanding the behavior and stability of multi-species systems.  Close inspection of the literature, however, reveals that numerous definitions exist, which poses serious problems when trying to link data to models.  I will describe some of the implications of these problems, as well as explore some approaches to linking data to the community matrix from my studies of intertidal communities.  I will finish by discussing recent work that tries to sidestep community matrices altogether.

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