Modeling environmentally-mediated interactions
Many interactions between organisms occur indirectly, through modifications made to a shared environment. Competition for resources is a classical example, but ecologists have realized that environmentally-mediated interactions can take many forms. For instance, plants interact by making lasting changes to the chemical and microbial properties of the soil beneath them, and bacteria wrangle – sometimes to extinction – over the pH of their local environment. I work on developing mathematical models that capture the behavior of these varied interactions and help us understand how they impact the dynamics and structure of ecological communities.
Some relevant publications:
Metapopulations with habitat modification (2021) PNAS
No robust multispecies coexistence in a canonical model of plant-soil feedbacks (2022) Ecology Letters
Habitat heterogeneity, environmental feedbacks, and species coexistence across timescales (2023) The American Naturalist