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Unifying Ecology and Evolution: Temporal Complexity in Biological Systems

Thursday, December 12, 2013
12:00 AM

Complex biological systems embody some of the most fascinating phenomena observed in nature. In these systems, interactions across spatial, temporal and organizational scales are key to system dynamics. Thus, disentangling these interactions is essential in order to understand the associated emergent phenomenology. In this talk, I will present specific biological examples in which a focus on the different layers of temporal complexity improves our understanding of the system under scrutiny. From microbial populations to ecological networks or aggregation patterns and critical transitions, I will show how a multidisciplinary approach combining physics and mathematics with biology helps identify the relevant underlying biological mechanisms. However, feedbacks between ecology and evolution may challenge the ability of current models to make long-term predictions for these examples. I will discuss novel ideas to extend models and develop new frameworks in order to account for eco-evolutionary interactions.

Juan Bonachela (Faculty Candidate), Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of EEB, Princeton University