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Thursday Seminar: Eco-evolutionary predator-prey dynamics: how do (co)evolution and genetic variation alter population-level dynamics?

Thursday, September 24, 2015
12:00 AM
1210 Chemistry

Predators and their prey can exhibit cyclic temporal fluctuations. Lotka-Volterra and other ecological models predict that peaks in prey abundance precede peaks in predator abundance. However, other kinds of cycles have been observed in predator-prey systems. This motivates the question, 'why do predator-prey cycle characteristics differ across systems?' Using eco-evolutionary models, I show how evolution in one species and predator-prey coevolution can drive new and different kinds of cycles. For example, coevolution can effectively reverse the ordering of predator and prey peaks and drive cycles where peaks in prey abundance follow peaks in predator abundance. I will also show how these models can be used to predict how increased or decreased genetic variation in a population can alter system stability. For example, under stabilizing selection, increased genetic variation can destabilize a stable ecological system or stabilize a system undergoing oscillations. This theory identifies signatures of evolution in population time series data and in the talk I will use the theory to make inferences about the underlying evolutionary processes occurring in time series from empirical predator-prey systems.

Host: Professor Meghan Duffy

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