Abstract: Food webs are the networks of who-eats-who in ecology. They describe the dense web of feeding interactions between populations of different species that forms the backbone of ecosystems. Natural food webs are characterised by a great diversity of species and strong dynamical stability. When anthropogenic influences reshape food webs this stability is lost and local biodiversity starts to decline. To minimise these negative impacts it is important to understand what properties of natural food webs contribute to stability and thereby help to maintain diversity. Recent works have shown that the spatial structure of the environment, which has long been ignored in food web models, plays a significant role in this context. In this talk I will present a large nonlinear model of food web dynamics on spatial network of interconnected habitat patches. I will show that despite its considerable complexity, this system can be analyzed efficiently and elegantly using a combination of approaches from nonlinear dynamics and networks science. This yields insights into the impact of spatial structure on food web dynamics and reveals factors that contribute to ecosystem stability.
Bio: Thilo Gross studied Physics in Oldenburg and Portsmouth. He received his received his PhD (summa cum laude), from the University of Oldenburg in 2004. After Postdoctoral work in Potsdam and Princeton, Thilo became Group Leader in the Max-Planck-Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems in Dresden in 2007, and Senior Lecturer at the University of Bristol in 2011. He presently holds a Readership in Bristol and is research director for the school of Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, and Engineering Mathematics. In his work he analyzes complex systems, using nonlinear dynamics and complex network theory. He has developed several approaches for analyzing the dynamics of complex networks. In particular he is well known for the development of generalized modelling and his works on adaptive networks, both of which have led to recent publications in Science. He internationally recognized as an expert on self-organization in complex adaptive systems and is Editor of Springer Lecture Notes in Social Networks and Associate Editor of Frontiers in Computational Physics. Beside his work in physics and mathematics, he has published in ecology, systems biology, and endocrinology. One of his papers was recently highlighted by google as a classic in nonlinear science which places it in the global top-10 publications in the field from the respective year. Some of his recent publications have received coverage in major media including the BBC, the Wall Street Journal, Time, Wired, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, and the News sections of Science and Nature.
1131 Kemper Hall