DEPARTMENT OF MATHEMATICAL
& STATISTICAL SCIENCES
UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA
MATHEMATICAL BIOLOGY SEMINAR
MONDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2002
Dr. E. Pachepsky
Department of Ecology, Evolution, and
University of California, Santa Barbara
Why it takes all kinds: A simulation study of the impact of individual variability on community dynamics.
In this talk I will examine the effect of diversity on community dynamics using a simulation model. In particular, I will address two questions: 1) what mechanisms can support variability of individuals in a community and 2) what determines the relationship between productivity and diversity. These questions will be addressed in a context of a Scottish grassland system: presented model was parameterised using physiological data for a grassland plant Rumex Acetosa L. I will show how a sensitivity analysis of the simulation model was used to reduce complexity of the system, and tease out the mechanisms leading to the observed dynamics. In particular, in one case the system exhibited diversity patterns widely observed in ecological communities. The analysis showed that these were a result of the trade-off between fecundity and reproduction frequency of plants. In the second example, the nontrivial response of the community productivity to the environment was explained by the interplay between environmental conditions, diversity of the community, and community's response to the environment.