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Irreversible Processes in Ecological Evolution/GregDwyer

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Notes by user Greg Dwyer (Univ. Chicago) for Irreversible Processes in Ecological Evolution

Post-meeting Reflection

1+ paragraphs on any combination of the following:

  • Presentation highlights
  • Open questions that came up
  • How your perspective changed
  • Impact on your own work
  • e.g. the discussion on [A] that we are having reminds me of [B] conference/[C] initiative/[D] funding call-for-proposal/[E] research group

Pamela's presentation reminded me of the importance of basic competition theory in understanding competition between pathogen strains, specifically in terms of the interplay between frequency-dependent and density-dependent selection in the insect pathogens that I study. That has in turn helped me to begin to see how theory of pathogen competition is related to more general theories of competition, as Priyanga pointed out, and as became clear from seeing Annette's and Otto's and Bobby's presentations.

Something I am unclear on, however, is how and whether such theory of such generality has practical implications for pest control. Those comments apply even more strongly to the whole idea of irreversibility. I can see what Dervis and Jacopo mean by "ecological irreversibility", but I can't see the practical applications. Meanwhile, I can't see what David Krakauer's ideas have to do with killing pests in any way. That said, I can appreciate that I may need to think about all these ideas quite a bit more.

My first 2 paragraphs were based on the first day of talks. Now that the meeting is done, I have 2 more thoughts. Off and on during the meeting, we had long rambling discussions about the semantics of irreversibility. I found much of that discussion to be a waste of time. After the meeting was over, however, we were able to identify metrics of irreversibility, and those metrics will be directly useful in work in my lab.

Questions I would like to know the answer to, and that are motivated by the talks I've listened to:

Is the outcome of pathogen competition irreversible, or can it be reversed by climate change?

To what extent are high-level abstractions useful in understanding ecological problems, and in applied ecology more specifically?

Are statistically robust tests of ecological theory necessary for the theory to be useful?

Reference material notes

Some examples:

  • Here is [A] database on [B] that I pull data from to do [C] analysis that might be of interest to this group (insert link).
  • Here is a free tool for calculating [ABC] (insert link)
  • This painting/sculpture/forms of artwork is emblematic to our discussion on [X]!
  • Schwartz et al. 2017 offers a review on [ABC] migration as relate to climatic factors (add the reference as well).

Paez et al. (2017) and Fleming-Davies et al. (2015) represent about 2/3's of the results that I presented in my talk.

Reference Materials

Title Author name Source name Year Citation count From Scopus. Refreshed every 5 days. Page views Related file
Eco-Evolutionary Theory and Insect Outbreaks The American Naturalist 2017 0 0
Effects of host heterogeneity on pathogen diversity and evolution Ecology Letters 2015 0 2

Presenter on the following Agenda items

Natural selection, population cycles, and climate change in forest insects

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