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Thursday Seminar: Alternative stable (and unstable) states in stochastic ecological dynamics

Thursday, March 26, 2015
12:00 AM
1200 Chemistry

Predator-prey graphs
Population dynamics result from a combination of deterministic mechanisms (e.g. competition, predation) that drive density-dependent dynamics and stochastic forces that disrupt the neat patterns that would otherwise result. We often think of deterministic factors as being the most important, with their effects blurred secondarily by stochastic noise. In some particularly fascinating situations, however, it is unhelpful to thus emphasize deterministic drivers because stochasticity itself plays a role in shaping the overall pattern in the dynamics. In this way, stochasticity has a qualitative effect on the dynamics, such that dynamical patterns look quite different from what would result from the underlying deterministic factors alone. In this talk, I will use models to explore stochastic dynamics that mimic the appearance of alternative stable states, yet arise in systems with a single stable state. This work is part of ongoing research on improving our understanding of the role stochasticity might play in generating observed ecological patterns.

Coffee and cookies will be served at 4 p.m.

Host: Professor Annette Ostling