Causes and effects of ecological network structure
Reconciling the complexity and (apparent) stability of natural ecosystems is one of the deepest and oldest challenges in ecology. We now understand that the structure of networks of species interactions can have a significant impact on the resulting community dynamics, potentially promoting (or impeding) stable coexistence. However, effects run in both directions: community assembly processes can shape the interaction networks that emerge and persist through time. I am interested in understanding both how network structure affects community dynamics and how community dynamics constrain network structure. One exciting possibility is that large, stable communities may emerge naturally under certain network structures. For these projects, I use theory and tools from probability theory (especially random matrix theory), alongside generative network models and statistical approaches to uncover the structure of real-world networks.
Some relevant publications:
Coexistence of many species under a random competition-colonization trade-off (pre-print)
Effects of phylogeny on coexistence in model communities (pre-print)
Phylogeny structures species’ interactions in experimental ecological communities (pre-print)
Metabolic trade-offs can reverse the resource-diversity relationship (pre-print)
Stability criteria for the consumption and exchange of essential resources (2022) PLOS Computational Biology