Dynamical robustness and stability of ecological systems with different types of trophic interactions

The goal of this project is to explore whether the type of inter-population interactions in a system of four populations (e.g. mutualism, competition, predator-prey, etc.) influences the sensitivity of the dynamics of the system to perturbations such as climate change. A working hypothesis is that structural stability of system dynamics (i.e., sensitivity to parameter values) imply stability to external climate perturbations. To address this question, extensive computational work will be performed to analyze the dynamics of a 3- and 4-population systems for different values of parameters, comparing models that have different sign of interaction terms, corresponding to different types of interactions. Algorithms will be developed to automatically classify the dynamics of a system for a given set of initial conditions and paramter values, as the parameter space is systematically scanned. The resulting data will be processed to compare the sensitivities of ecological systems with different trophic interactions.

UBM student Thomas Anderson (quantitative ecology laboratory of Dr Daniel Bunker):

This Program is supported by the NSF grant award DMS-0926232
Please contact Victor Matveev for further information.